Trump Rejects Call to Rename Military Bases Named After Confederate Leaders
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Trump Rejects Call to Rename Military Bases Named After Confederate Leaders

President Donald Trump on Wednesday rejected the idea of renaming U.S. military bases named after Confederate leaders, declaring: “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with.”

“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,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “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. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!” he added.

President Trump’s remarks come after a spokesperson for Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a Monday interview with Politico that he is “open” to a “bipartisan discussion” on whether to rename 10 bases and facilities that are named after Confederate figures. Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky said Defense Secretary Mark Esper also supports possible discussions on the matter.

On Tuesday, Retired U.S. Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus urged for the removal of the names of Confederate figures from U.S. Army bases around the world.

Petraeus wrote in an op-ed for The Atlantic that “It is time to remove the names of traitors like Benning and Bragg from our country’s most important military installation,” a reference to bases named after Gen. Henry Benning in Columbus, Georgia, and Gen. Braxton Bragg in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

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It gives me considerable pause, for example, to note that my alma mater, West Point, honors Robert E. Lee with a gate, a road, an entire housing area, and a barracks, the last of which was built during the 1960s. A portrait of Lee with an enslaved person adorns a wall of the cadet library, the counterpoint to a portrait of Grant, his Civil War nemesis, on a nearby wall.

We do not live in a country to which Braxton Bragg, Henry L. Benning, or Robert E. Lee can serve as an inspiration. Acknowledging this fact is imperative. Should it fail to do so, the Army, which prides itself on leading the way in perilous times, will be left to fight a rearguard action against a more inclusive American future, one that fulfills the nation’s founding promise.

Petraeus’s op-ed followed the U.S. Marine Corps’ decision to order the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from Marine bases.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps. Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society,” the U.S. Marine Corps said in a Friday statement.

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