Okay, so fine, fine, the White House and the Pentagon both now admit that yes, the White House Military Office asked the Navy to move the USS John McCain so Donald Trump wouldn’t see it and have an embarrassing public temper tantrum. But fear not: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has his response: He’s told the White House to please not politicize the military like that again. Bringing all the leverage of an acting secretary hoping for a nomination to be a full secretary to that request, no doubt.
There’s more, sort of. An unnamed defense official told the Associated Press that Shanahan is “considering a clearer directive to the military about avoiding political situations.” That’s already a pretty damn clear policy, so again with the responses that boil down to a frowny face. What Shanahan isn’t doing is calling for a formal investigation.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, made clear Sunday just how seriously the White House takes these concerns, saying it’s “not unreasonable” to think that Trump’s delicate sensibilities should be protected from the sight of a boat named for a man he didn’t like.