The Pentagon has told the White House that the US military will not be politicized, a USA official said on Sunday, in response to a controversy after officials directed the United States Navy to keep the USS John S. McCain out of sight during a recent speech by President Donald Trump in Japan.
Shanahan's spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Buccino, said the Pentagon had already lodged a protest at a White House meeting on Friday.
U.S. Navy officials tell Fox News that all ships were in their normal configuration during the president's visit; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports.
The request was apparently made to avoid angering Trump. But he also said: "Somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him, OK? And they were well-meaning, I will say", he said, while insisting he was kept in the dark.
Shanahan, who has been serving in an acting capacity since the first of the year, has yet to be formally nominated by Trump as permanent defense chief.
"There is no room for politicising the military", Mr Shanahan told reporters.
On Thursday, Trump told the media at the White House that he had no knowledge of the plan and wouldn't have approved that request but he "is not a big fan" of McCain and whoever did it was "well meaning". The McCain crew was given a 96-hour Memorial Day weekend leave that Shanahan said was unrelated to the President's visit.
One White House staffer was concerned the mere sight of the vessel would irritate the president during his recent visit to Japan, and put in a request to the Navy to move it to a less conspicuous spot, but was refused.
The US Navy had previously told CNN the request had been made to lower-level US Navy officials, but it was not known who specifically received the directive about keeping a warship named for the late Sen. Trump said he was not involved in the matter.
The USS John S. McCain at the Yokosuka naval base on Saturday in Japan.
The warship was commissioned in 1994 and originally named for the senator's father and grandfather, both Navy admirals named John Sidney McCain.
VOA had previously reported these details provided by a U.S. Navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "That would give me an understanding on the next steps".
Those types of events, where troops may applaud their commander in chief, run the risk of appearing to voters as an endorsement, said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a former Marine and member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In response to the WSJ story Trump told reporters, "I don't know what happened". He said the military "needs to do their job" and stay out of politics.
The Navy's top officer, Adm. John Richardson, reaffirmed the partition in the wake of the McCain incident.
Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge's order.
On this week's edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace played video of Trump's response to Mueller's press conference, in which Trump falsely claimed that Mueller interviewed for the job of Federal Bureau of Investigation director before being appointed special counsel, and that Mueller had some sort of business conflict with Trump.