President Donald Trump said Wednesday he opposes any effort by the US military to rename the nearly one dozen major bases and installations that bear the names of Confederate military commanders.
US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are said to be open to holding a “bipartisan conversation” about renaming nearly a dozen major bases and installations that bear the names of Confederate military commanders, according to an Army official.
But 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.”
Army installations named after Confederate leaders include Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Army bases across the country have continued to bear the names of Confederate military commanders even amid intense external pressure to rename them.
Peaceful protests calling for justice and a reckoning with racial inequality have dominated the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, prompting many to reconsider the status quo.
The Army official previously said that though McCarthy believes he has the potential authority to unilaterally rename the installations, there would need to be consultation with the White House, Congress and state and local governments.
In a statement Monday, the Army confirmed that McCarthy and Esper are “open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic” but added that “each Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a significant place in our military history.”
“Accordingly, the historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies,” the statement said.
A defense official told CNN the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley “fully supports the discussion and Secretary McCarthy’s efforts, as the statutory authority, to explore this issue.”
CNN’s Ryan Browne and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.