President Trump has vowed to veto a bill authorizing more than $740 billion in defense spending because it includes a provision to change the names of 10 Army installations, wrote Chamberlain Fellow and Professor of History Ty Seidule in a Washington Post essay on Sunday, Nov. 29. He argued, “The posts honor Confederate generals who fought against the United States during the Civil War … This nation should honor those who fought bravely to defend it, not its enemies. U.S. soldiers deserve to serve on military posts that reflect the best of America, not the worst.”
In his opinion piece titled “Let Trump try to defend racist, traitorous Confederates. Congress can still prevail,” Seidule detailed the sordid histories of the men for whom the installations are named, describing them as “a motley assortment of pro-slavery activists, postwar white supremacists, poor tacticians, traitors, and war criminals.” Acknowledging that Congress may push the decision about renaming the Army bases until the next administration, he wrote, “Such temporizing would be a disgrace in this year of racial reckoning.”
Indeed, multiple news outlets now report that President Trump is prepared to accept language regarding a plan to remove Confederate names, monuments, and symbols from U.S. military installations and approve the bill. But those changes will be initiated via a commission that will form a renaming plan and will instruct the defense secretary to implement it. These changes will take an estimated three years to come to fruition in the midst of the Biden Administration.