Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE defended the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE (R-Ariz.), saying the Vietnam veteran should be treated as a war hero amid reports the Trump administration obscured a Navy ship bearing McCain’s name during a recent overseas trip by the president.

“John McCain was a war hero, should be treated as a war hero, anything less than that is beneath anyone who doesn’t treat him that way. He’s just — he is a hero,” Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate who served with McCain for a number of years in the Senate, told reporters Thursday in Delaware. 

“He was a friend of mine. We argued like the devil, as I said in my eulogy, we loved each other, but we argued like the devil. But we abided by the same values, that’s why I love John McCain and that’s why we need a lot more John McCains.”

McCain was held as a prisoner of war for over five years in Vietnam, enduring torture that would permanently impact the mobility in his arms. The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman and former GOP presidential nominee died in August.


Biden’s comments come in the aftermath of reports that military officials sought to hide the USS John S. McCain during President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s trip to Japan earlier this week.

Trump and McCain repeatedly clashed, with the president saying McCain was not a war hero and often hitting him over his vote against a GOP plan to repeal ObamaCare.

Questioned about the USS McCain, Trump told reporters Thursday he “was not a big fan of John McCain in any way, shape or form.”

“But I would never do a thing like that,” he added. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning, I will say.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported Wednesday that White House officials requested the ship be “out of sight” when Trump visited Japan over Memorial Day weekend. Measures to hide the ship’s name from view were later approved. 

The Washington Post and New York Times later confirmed the Journal’s reporting, though none of the papers said Trump was involved in making the request. The Journal reported that the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Navy and the White House were involved in discussions. 

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper’s chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE told reporters that he was not aware of the situation and ordered the Pentagon to look into the matter. 

“I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Sen. McCain. I would never disrespect the young men and women that crew that ship,” said Shanahan.

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