President Donald Trump indicated Tuesday that he will likely veto an annual military funding bill that contains pay raises for U.S. troops in order to prevent the renaming of military bases currently named for members of the Confederacy who betrayed their country by seeking to overthrow it by force, according to HuffPost:
“The White House’s ‘Statement of Administration Policy‘ on the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act claims that the provision ‘is part of a sustained effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct.’ The document warns that should the legislation arrive on Trump’s desk the way it is currently written, ‘his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it.'”
But such a stand could prove to be politically disastrous for the president, who is already seeing his poll numbers crater on the issue of racial justice, according to Stuart Stevens, a Republican political consultant who worked on the campaigns of George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. Stevens is also a lifelong resident of Mississippi:
“He’s totally misjudging the moment.
“Mississippi took down its Confederate battle flag and Trump is trying to raise it over the White House.”
Trump maintains that the Confederate flag doesn’t signify racism, telling Fox News host Chris Wallace:
“When people ― when people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South, they like the South. People right now like the South.”
The bill the president is threatening to veto was passed overwhelming by both the House and Senate and contains wording which requires the renaming of any military facility currently named “after a person who served in the political or military leadership of any armed rebellion against the United States.”
10 Army bases would be affected by the legislation. Those bases are located in six states from Texas to Virginia that seceded from the Union, which is itself an act of treason and rebellion against the United States. Among the most well-known bases that would see their names changed under the defense bill are Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Benning in Georgia.
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