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Pete Buttigieg slams Trump's 'fragile ego' amid report president wanted USS John McCain 'out of sight'

2020 democratic hopeful is a former Navy officer, and is one of the only presidential candidates to have served in America's 21st century wars

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 30 May 2019 16:38 BST
(AFP/Getty Images)

Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, has slammed Donald Trump for having a fragile ego after news reports that the president asked the US military to get the USS John McCain “out of sight” during his recent visit to Japan.

“This is not a show. Our military is not a prop,” Mr Buttigieg, a former Navy officer, wrote on Twitter. “Ships and sailors are not to be toyed with for the benefit of a fragile president’s ego.”

The statement came just after Mr Trump’s trip to Japan, where photos show that a tarp was used to cover up the name of the USS John McCain – a ship originally named after the father and grandfather of the late Republican senator of the same name who Mr Trump frequently sparred with.

The late senator was also added as a namesake shortly after his death last year.

News reports addressing the tarp indicated that Mr Trump had asked that the name be put “out of sight” during his trip to Japan. According to the Wall Street Journal, that effort included an email exchange between the White House and the Pentagon.

Mr Trump on Thursday morning denied knowing about the efforts to obscure the name.

“Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him — ok — and they were well-meaning, I will say. I didn’t know anything about it. I would never have done that,” Mr Trump said.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr Buttigieg’s criticism, or the news reports about the efforts to obscure the name of the warship.

It's not the first time that Mr Buttigieg has attacked the president over the US military.

"This is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was a child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place," Mr Buttigieg said last week during an event at an event hosted by the Washington Post, referring to the president's multiple deferments that kept him from serving in the Viet Nam war.

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