Turns out the United States didn't have a strike carrier group near the Korean Peninsula in recent days amid tensions with North Korea.
The US military's Pacific Command said the Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a period of training with Australia.
The U.S.is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
The idea that the Vinson was headed immediately to the Korean Peninsula had both reassured South Korea and Japan, which were wary of potential North Korean provocations, and increased concern that Trump could respond to those actions with military force. "It is happening, rather", he said at a regular briefing. "We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you". "W$3 e're doing exactly what we said, and that is, we're shifting her".
"This goes to prove that the US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario", the statement said.
Critics pounced on the discrepancy as a risky miscommunication, saying it fed into North Korea's narrative that America is all bluster and doesn't follow through on threats.
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.More news: Trump strategy on N. Korea: 'Maximum pressure and engagement'
Speculation has been rising that the Ronald Reagan and Nimitz strike groups could join with the Vinson.
A series of glitches meant that the USS Carl Vinson and four other warships were actually sailing in the opposite direction when officials announced it was surging towards the West Pacific, The New York Times has revealed.
On April 15, the U.S. Navy even published a photo showing the Vinson transiting the Sunda Strait.
If the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the Korean peninsula, it is taking its time. On April 11, Defense Secretary James Mattis - having just met with Harris in Washington - noted that no specific incident prompted the order to curtail the exercise program and head north.