Trump Opposes Renaming Military Bases Named After Confederate Generals
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will not allow the U.S. military to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders, who fought for slave-holding states.
A statement from the U.S. Army said US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper were “open to having a bipartisan conversation” to rename 10 military stations named after Confederate military generals.
During the American Civil War of 1861-65, Confederate states fought to keep black people enslaved. The symbols of Confederacy have become another reminder of that racist past. The military bases are all located in Southern states: Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Texas.
Trump opposed the idea, tweeting that the military bases were a part of “a Great American Heritage,” and “a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.” He said his administration “will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
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. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2020
David Petraeus, the retired US Army general and former C.I.A. director, wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic after the U.S. Army released a statement on renaming the military bases. He supported the idea, calling it “the right call.”
“For an organization designed to win wars to train for them at installations named for those who led a losing force is sufficiently peculiar, but when we consider the cause for which these officers fought, we begin to penetrate the confusion of Civil War memory,” Patraeus wrote. “The irony of training at bases named for those who took up arms against the United States, and for the right to enslave others, is inescapable to anyone paying attention. Now, belatedly, is the moment for us to pay such attention.”
The idea to rename the military bases came after anti-racism protests engulfed the country, after the murder of an African American man, George Floyd, during a forceful arrest. Protestors promoted the idea to remove monuments, evoking the history of the Confederacy and colonization. On Wednesday, the demonstrators removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia. Statues of Christopher Columbus were also vandalized in a number of cities, including Miami and Boston.