Despite passing the Senate with a veto-proof majority, a bill removing the names of Confederate officers from military bases will not take effect, President Donald Trump has tweeted, hinting at Senate opposition to the measure.
Senate Armed Services Committee chair Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) “WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts,” Trump tweeted triumphantly on Friday, adding that the GOP senator shared his antipathy toward “Cancel Culture.”
I spoke to highly respected (Chairman) Senator @JimInhofe, who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!). Like me, Jim is not a believer in “Cancel Culture”.
While Inhofe co-wrote the massive $741 billion National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate on Thursday with a veto-proof 86-14 majority, he also seemed confident that a provision included in the bill requiring the 10 properties named for Confederate generals to be rechristened would be removed before the legislation landed on Trump’s desk.
“We’re going to see to it that provision doesn’t survive the bill,” he told local media on Friday, acknowledging that he had spoken to Trump about the issue and shared the president’s opposition to the renaming.
Trump has threatened to veto any defense package that includes the renaming of military bases. The Senate version of the bill still has to be reconciled with the version that passed the House, which made it through the Democrat-led chamber with a veto-proof majority and also includes a measure mandating the renaming of bases honoring Confederate generals.
The Senate bill requires bases to remove the Confederate names within three years, while the House version requires the renaming to take place within a year.
Trump has unflinchingly opposed the renaming of the bases, calling it an effort to rewrite history and arguing the bases had become part of a “Great American Heritage and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom” through the battles that were fought and won out of them.
The initiative to remove all things Confederate from public view comes amid months of non-stop protests over police brutality and racism, and a highly politicized reckoning with US history following the killing of George Floyd.
The Confederate flag, once ubiquitous across the American South, has been eliminated from sports organizations like NASCAR, while Confederate monuments have come down throughout the nation, and buildings and institutions named after Confederate figures have received hasty makeovers.
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