President Donald Trump has attracted criticism yet again, from media outlets for “leaking” the locations of U.S. nuclear submarines, yet it doesn’t really count as a leak if the information is already made public!
During a phone conversation with President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte on April 29, Trump revealed that the U.S. had nuclear submarines positioned near the Korean Peninsula. “We have a lot of firepower there,” Trump told Duterte, “We have two nuclear submarines, not that we want to use them.” Trump was most likely referring to the nuclear-powered USS Michigan and the USS Cheyenne which are already known to have been in the region in April.
A leaked transcript of the conversation caused the usual media uproar. “Underplayed from Trump-Duterte call: he told Duterte we have 2 nuclear submarines near N. Korea. That’s … not usually something we talk about,” tweeted NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy.
The headline: “Trump Revealed Location Of U.S. Nuclear Subs In Call With Duterte.” appeared in the Huffington Post, with the newspaper asking, “Can this man be trusted with state secrets?”
But according to the Daily Caller:
The Navy revealed on April 25 that the nuclear-powered, Ohio-class submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrived in Busan, South Korea for a port call and to strengthen the partnership with the South Korean Navy. Videos of the Michigan were released online by news outlets.
The Navy revealed on May 2 the Los-Angeles class nuclear attack submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) arrived in Sasebo, Japan for a visit as part of its Indo-Pacific deployment. While the information was released after the Duterte call, the details of the call had not yet been leaked, so it can be assumed that the released statement was planned and not a reaction to Trump’s disclosures.
More importantly, though, the president had already introduced that the U.S. military was sending heavily-armed submarines to the peninsula in an earlier interview with Fox. “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier,” Trump told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on April 12. “We have the best military people on Earth.”