President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday evening that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if it included an amendment to rename ten U.S. Army bases that had been named for Confederate generals.
The renaming amendment was authored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and passed the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee on a voice vote.
Trump had previously said he would veto the bill if it renamed the bases.
On Tuesday night, he tweeted: “I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!”
I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has proposed an amendment that would reverse Warren’s amendment. He explained in a speech from the Senate floor that he was opposed to “historical revisionism,” adding that he opposed the change “not to celebrate the cause of the Confederacy, but to embrace the cause of union.”
Military historian Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has pointed out that the bases were given Confederate names
not so much to glorify overt racists as for a variety of more mundane, insidious reasons in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — from concessions to local southerners where many of these bases were to be located, to obtain bipartisan congressional support for their funding, and to address the need in the decades-long and bitter aftermath of the Civil War to promote “healing” between the still hostile former opponents.
Hanson suggested that renaming the bases might be a worthy cause, but that it should not be done “until the fires in the streets, the occupations, the defacements, the looting, and the violence have dissipated.”
Trump’s argument against renaming has been that the names of the bases are associated with a distinguished military history that has nothing to do with the Confederacy.
The Obama administration declined to rename the bases when the issue came up in 2015, saying that the names ” represent individuals, not causes or ideologies,” and that the “naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.