President Donald Trump said he won’t think about changing the names of military bases that are named for leaders of the Confederacy.
Trump took to Twitter, his favored social media platform, to say that some are suggesting renaming as many as 10 bases, including Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, and Fort Benning.
“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,” he said.
“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!”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters in Washington that Trump “fervently “stands against the renaming of “these great American fortresses.”
“To suggest that these forts were somehow inherently racist and their names need to be changed, is a complete disrespect to the men and women who, the last bit of American land that they saw before they went overseas and lost their lives, were these forts,” she said.
Staff members gave out a sheet of paper with Trump’s tweets to reporters before McEnany’s press conference started.
Asked if Trump would sign a bill from Congress if it included renaming a base, she said no.
“That is an absolute non-starter for the president,” McEnany said.
Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus said in an oped this week that “Lee, Bragg and the rest committed treason” before asserting the Army “should not brook any celebration of those who betrayed their country.”
“These bases are, after all, federal installations, home to soldiers who swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Petraeus 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.”
McEnany later said that Fort Bragg is known for soldiers who trained there and deployed from there.
Referencing how “Gone With the Wind” was pulled from a streaming service, the press secretary wondered, “Where do you draw the line?”
“Should George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison be erased from history? What about FDR and his internment camps?” she asked.
“We are a warfighting organization, an elite institution of warriors who depend on each other to win the tough battles,” General David Berger, commandant of the corps, wrote in a letter explaining the decision. “Anything that divides us, anything that threatens team cohesion must be addressed head-on.”