Forced to defend that falsehood on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resorted to a little creative thinking. As the New York Times reports, a few ships are not where the Trump White House said they were.
The trip to the Indian Ocean, according to the US military's Pacific Command, was merely the first stop for the carrier, which on Tuesday was "proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered" after completing training with Australia, The Washington Post reported.
But Defense News pointed out on Tuesday that photos released by the U.S. Navy showed the aircraft carrier passing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, about 3,500 miles from the Korean Peninsula, last Saturday. That's convenient, because when Trump said that, the armada in question was actually sailing the opposite direction to the Indian Ocean for joint exercises - not toward North Korea to serve as a deterrent.
It is not clear whether the failure to arrive was a deliberate deception, perhaps created to frighten North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, a change of plan or simple miscommunication, the BBC's Korea correspondent Stephen Evans says.
"We want to send an unambiguous message especially to North Korea that any attempt to use weapons of any kind against our allies in this region or American forces overseas will be defeated and will be met with overwhelming force", Pence said in an interview with CNN.
Australia PM Turnbull puts free trade deal with India on backburner
Turnbull is visiting India in response to Modi's invitation to the Australian President during a G-20 summit in China a year ago . The bilateral discussion also hinted at a growing agreement to oppose China's territorial claims over the South China Sea region.
News organizations around the world, including NPR, covered the statements by Trump and other officials in Washington about the Carl Vinson's deployment as though the ships were bearing down on North Korea.
After the Navy's image of the ships spread across the internet, the narrative changed.
The US also accused North Korea of trying to "provoke something", with US Defence Secretary James Mattis calling the test a reckless move on Tuesday.
On April 11, the US Navy said it would take at least a week for the strike group to arrive at the desired location.
"Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier". That's not what we ever said.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump's point was he's ready to defend allies.
Well, us too. It's hard for the president to exercise an option he doesn't really have.