- President Trump on Sunday in an interview on Fox News continued to pushback on efforts to rename military bases named for Confederate leaders, asking if those in favor of doing so wanted them to be named after civil rights leader and television personality, the Rev. Al Sharpton.
- Lawmakers in the House have proposed spending $1 million to rename US military bases as part of the proposed $695 billion defense spending bill.
- Trump previously said he would veto the bill if it contained the provision, though in the Sunday interview was unclear about whether he planned to sign the bill.
- Trump also again defended the Confederate Flag and downplayed its racist history.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Trump in a Fox News interview on Sunday continued to pushback against ongoing efforts to rename US military bases named for Confederate leaders, asking host Chris Wallace if those calling for the renaming of Fort Bragg in North Carolina would rather it be named for the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“I don’t care what the military says,” Trump said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview. “I’m supposed to make the decision.”
The president then suggested that the community in North Carolina would oppose such a change.
“Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it?” Trump asked.
“We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton?” Trump continued, evoking the name of the civil rights activist, politician, MSNBC anchor, and Baptist minister. “What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it?”
As Business Insider’s David Choi previously reported, lawmakers are considering a plan to spend $1 million to rename US military bases named after Confederate generals as part of the proposed $695 billion defense authorization bill. There are 10 US Army bases across the US that bear the name of Confederate leaders, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
During the same interview, as Bloomberg noted, the president was unclear over whether he would veto the Defense Authorization Act should it contain the provision to rename confederate bases. At first, he said he would not veto the bill, though later in the Sunday interview he suggested he may veto it, echoing his comments from a tweet he sent on June 30.
“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!,” Trump tweeted last month.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
Calls to remove confederate statues and monuments and rename military bases and other locations named after Confederate leaders have been amplified as part of protests against police brutality and racism that began in May following the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The effort to rename Confederate bases has received rare bipartisan support, as Business Insider previously reported. Earlier this month, the US military effectively banned the Confederate Flag at military bases.
In response to these calls and protesters who have toppled Confederate statues on their own, Trump has threatened demonstrators with up to ten years in prison, citing a law meant to protect memorials for veterans. Trump also in the Sunday interview downplayed the Confederate Flag’s connections to racism, comments similar to those he made in an interview earlier in July.
“When people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism,” the president told Wallace. “They love their flag, it represents the South, they like the South. People right now like the South. I’d say it’s freedom of, of, of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”
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