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Trump tweets he ‘will not even consider’ removing Confederate names from Army bases

President Donald J. Trump listens to a reporter’s question during the coronavirus update briefing Monday, April 27, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
June 10, 2020

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump weighed in on the talk of renaming 10 U.S. Army bases named after Confederate leaders, saying he would not consider calls to rename them.

“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc,” Trump tweeted. “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

Trump continued, “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!.”

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany directly stated Trump’s stance on the base name issue at the start of a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

Trump announced his stance on the issue amid decisions by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy to ban displays of the Confederate flag and items bearing the symbol on their bases, offices and warships.

The Army has faced questions in the past as to whether it would rename its bases. In February Army officials indicated they would not rename the bases, however, in more recent days Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said they are “open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic.

On Tuesday, retired Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus voiced support for renaming the bases. He acknowledged the practice in many military academies of teaching and taking lessons of military leadership from people who fought for controversial causes. Petraeus also acknowledged Fort Bragg, North Carolina has a reputation beyond that of its Confederate namesake, being the home to some of the most elite units in the U.S. military.

Nevertheless, Petraeus argued, “Once the names of these bases are stripped of the obscuring power of tradition and folklore, renaming the installations becomes an easy, even obvious, decision.”

Trump’s Wednesday announcement now appears to stand in opposition to his Defense and Army secretaries’ willingness to change the base names.