Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said on Thursday that he would be open to renaming Army bases currently named after leaders of the Confederacy.
Mass demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed during arrest by Minneapolis police officers, have led to a reckoning over symbols of and monuments to the Confederacy.
“The American Civil War . . . 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 backs on their oath,” Milley said during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee. “Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it’s heritage. Others think it’s hate.”
Milley continued, “We need to have, I’ve recommended, a commission of folks to take a hard look at the bases, the statues, the names, all of this stuff, to see if we can have a rational, mature discussion.”
President Trump has threatened to veto any legislation that would change the name of bases including Forts Bragg, Lee, and Hood.
“The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” Trump tweeted in early June. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
The Confederate flag has also received heightened scrutiny since the Floyd demonstrations. The Mississippi state legislature voted to remove the symbol from its state flag, and NASCAR banned spectators from waiving the flag at races.
In a Twitter tiff with NASCAR’s only full-time African-American driver, Trump wrote that the “flag decision” contributed to NASCAR’s “lowest ratings EVER!”