With the election only five months away and President Trump’s poll numbers slipping, Republican senators rebelled against Donald Trump late Wednesday by voting to tell the Army to rename bases named after Confederate generals within the next three years. The Armed Services Committee, whose The vote came hours after Donald Trump tweeted furiously that he will ‘not even consider’ renaming Forts Bragg, Hood, Lee and others.
The move puts the Republican senators on a collision course with Trump, who White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested would veto any legislation that renamed the bases.
She claimed it was an insult to people who had served abroad to rename bases that they left from.
The 10 bases are named for a group that includes slave owners, officers who left the U.S. Army to join the rebels, and at least one general who ordered the execution of unarmed prisoners.
President Trump sent out a trio of tweets just before Wednesday’s White House briefing saying he was against renaming 10 Army bases that are currently named for Confederate leaders
McEnany defended President Trump’s refusal to strike Confederate leaders’ names from military bases by asking where the country should draw the line.
‘Should George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison be erased from history? What about FDR and his internment camps? Should he be erased from history? Or Lyndon Johnson? Who has a history of documented racist statements,’ McEnany asked reporters.
The Armed Services Committee’s Republican members include Tom Cotton, the Arkansas senator and former Army officer who caused outrage by demanding ‘sending in the troops’ with illegal ‘no quarter’ orders to quell protests. But they also include a series of senators facing strong Democratic challenges in the upcoming election, including Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Arizona’s Martha McSally, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Georgia’s David Perdue.
On Monday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Politico that he was ‘open’ to renaming these 10 facilities. Politico reported that Defense Secretary Mark Esper – who has been at odds with Trump over how to deal with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations – also supported the discussion.
An amendment presented by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, would extend further than renaming the 10 bases and would create an independent commission that would develop a plan to remove the name of Confederates from bases, installations, facilities, ships and planes.