Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that the request to move the USS John S. McCain out of Donald Trump‘s line of sight was not “unreasonable.” Mulvaney, appearing on Meet the Press, said that it was probably someone on the president’s advance team who had asked for the warship’s repositioning, and that said staffer would not face any repercussions.

The incident which Mulvaney described occurred last week during Trump’s visit to Japan. The president was scheduled to make an address in front of several American warships stationed in Japan, including the USS John S. McCain. However, someone from the White House staff had reportedly asked for the USS John S. McCain to be moved from its position and hidden from Trump. Given the longstanding enmity between the president and the warship’s namesake, the late senator from Arizona, John McCain, it is likely that the president’s staff was trying to avoid the public relations fiasco that could occur if Trump saw the ship and began insulting the dead senator. However, after a tweet from the president indicated that he was not aware of the order, it became clear that some staffer had acted behind Trump’s back.

While some began to call for said staffer’s firing after the backlash over the frivolous use of the Navy, Mulvaney assured reporters that the staffer would not be fired. “The fact that some 23, 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, ‘oh my goodness, here’s the John McCain, we all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that’s not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it?’ That’s not an unreasonable thing,” said Mulvaney on Sunday.


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