The Jury Talks Back


Trump Claim About Aircraft Carrier Was False

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:35 am

Remember when Trump said an aircraft carrier was headed towards North Korea? Yeah, it wasn’t.

Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior. “We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News last Tuesday afternoon.

The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula.

White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to a partially erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea.

There’s finger-pointing going on regarding why this happened, but the inevitable Trumper defense that Trump is just keeping people off guard does not wash.

In South Korea, Hong Joon-pyo, the presidential candidate from former​ leader Park Geun-hye’s ruling party, said it was inappropriate to judge before receiving final confirmation of the Carl Vinson’s whereabouts. But, in an interview, he said: “What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea. If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says.”​

​He also said that, in light of Mr. Trump’s recent military strikes on Syria and ​Afghanistan, “it seems to me that Trump is a person who takes responsibility and action based on what he says.”

. . . .

In Japan, Prof. Narushige Michishita of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies said regardless of whether the U.S. intended to deceive or the narrative was a miscommunication, it looked bad for the White House.

“At a time of emergency, disinformation could be used as a tactic, but if the U.S. president spreads disinformation in peacetime like now, it would hurt the credibility of the U.S.,” he said.

Either Trump was behaving very erratically or he didn’t know where his aircraft carrier was and where it was headed. Neither possibility inspires confidence.


  1. I’m Shattered!

    Comment by gbear — 4/20/2017 @ 9:23 am

  2. The Vinson reports never made sense because they were inconsistent. Now it seems it was an exampleof how the Trump chaotic management style has spread to or impacted the military. Trump wants government to respond quickly but the military (especially its carriers) can’t do that.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/24/2017 @ 7:48 am

  3. No drj, the problem is Obama has left the cubberd bare, we have very few assets at our disposal,add to that the enemies are aware if our movements, and NBC news will print any carp they find.

    Comment by narciso — 4/25/2017 @ 6:51 am

  4. narciso,

    I agree Obama did not adequately fund the military but if the military is as decimated as you suggest, and perhaps it is, then Trump should stop using it so carelessly. Wasting multi-millions on Tomahawks for humanitarian gestures in Syria and moving an aircraft carrier, its crew (and their families) around the Pacific on a whim is not helpful anytime, but especially not when our military is struggling.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/25/2017 @ 10:14 am

  5. I submit that Trump told the military to move the carrier to reinforce his deal-making, which is why we got such inconsistent reports. They were all true at one point or another. But carriers aren’t pieces on a board and that kind of deal-making can be dangerous.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/25/2017 @ 10:17 am

  6. Trump is a talker and he doesn’t coordinate with other people. That is chaos and the military will be chaotic, too.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/25/2017 @ 10:36 am

  7. Trump inherited the military Obama left him. It’s unfortunate but that’s reality. He shouldn’t act like it’s his personal military to use on a whim.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/25/2017 @ 10:38 am

  8. Our military is suffering from the effects of constant deployments. Poor readiness rates of major equipment has resulted – exacerbated by the Pentagon’s spending on new weapons systems eating into maintenance and spares budgets.

    Comment by SPQR — 4/25/2017 @ 11:01 am

  9. There were two task forces on the way, but the vinsons was already conmitted to the Indonesian operation.

    Comment by narciso — 4/25/2017 @ 11:02 am

  10. And yet they posted this on April 19.

    Comment by DRJ — 4/25/2017 @ 3:42 pm

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