Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Defense Bill That Would Require Bases to Drop Confederate Names

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to approve a defense bill that would require military bases to drop Confederate names despite President Donald Trump’s veto threat, NPR reports.

The Senate voted 86-14 to approve the annual National Defense Authorization Act, meaning it has the votes to override a potential veto from the president.

The House already voted to approve a similar version of the bill earlier this week.

The bill would require the military to change the names of 10 Army bases named after Confederate leaders, including Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and Fort Benning in Georgia.

Trump threatens to veto:

Trump threatened to veto the entire bill, even though it also includes a 3% pay raise for military personnel.

The threat came after Trump vowed to defend the Confederate-named bases, citing a “history of winning.”

“My administration will not even consider renaming these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,” he tweeted. “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with.”

He told Fox News on Sunday that he “might” veto the bill.

"We won two world wars, two world wars, beautiful world wars that were vicious and horrible, and we won them out of Fort Bragg, we won out of all of these forts that now they want to throw those names away,” he said.

Military leaders back change:

“The Confederacy, the American Civil War was fought, and it was an act of rebellion,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, testified to Congress earlier this month. “It was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution, and those officers turned their back on their oath.”

“For those young soldiers that go onto a base — a Fort Hood, a Fort Bragg or a fort wherever named after a Confederate general — they can be reminded that that general fought for the institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors,” he added.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy are also “open” to changing the names.


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