The voice vote was on an amendment to the annual Pentagon policy bill – the Defense Authorization Act – which was put forward by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and former 2020 presidential candidate.
She claimed it was an insult to people who had served abroad to rename bases that they left from.
The 10 bases are named for a group that includes slave owners, officers who left the U.S. Army to join the rebels, and at least one general who ordered the execution of unarmed prisoners.
President Trump said Wednesday that he will ‘not even consider’ renaming the 10 Army bases that are named after Confederate leaders. In the two weeks since George Floyd’s death, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests have renewed calls to rid the country of Confederate monuments
President Trump sent out a trio of tweets just before Wednesday’s White House briefing saying he was against renaming 10 Army bases that are currently named for Confederate leaders
Vote: Elizabeth Warren pushed the move to remove the Confederate generals’ names in the Armed Services Committee, whose Republican majority includes Trump ultra-loyalist Tom Cotton, a former soldier who suggested sending in troops with illegal orders to quell protests
MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
Sen. James Inhofe (chair) – Oklahoma
Sen. Roger Wicker – Mississippi
Sen. Deb Fischer – Nebraska
Sen. Tom Cotton – Arkansas
Sen. Mike Rounds – South Dakota
Sen. Joni Ernst – Iowa
Sen. Thom Tillis – North Carolina
Sen. Dan Sullivan – Alaska
Sen. David Perdue – Georgia
Sen. Kevin Cramer – North Dakota
Sen. Martha McSally – Arizona
Sen. Rick Scott – Florida
Sen. Marsha Blackburn – Tennessee
Sen. Josh Hawley – Missouri
Sen. Jack Reed (ranking member) – Rhode Island
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen – New Hampshire
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
Sen. Richard Blumenthal – Connecticut
Sen. Mazie Hirono – Hawaii
Sen. Tim Kaine – Virginia
Sen. Angus King (independent) – Maine
Sen. Martin Heinrich – New Mexico
Sen. Elizabeth Warren – Massachusetts
Sen. Gary Peters – Michigan
Sen. Joe Manchin – West Virginia
Sen. Tammy Duckworth – Illinois
Sen. Doug Jones – Alabama
‘These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,’ Trump tweeted. ‘The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,’ the president continued.
‘Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,’ Trump said.
But later on Wednesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is Republican-controlled, voted the opposite way.
Its Republican members include Tom Cotton, the Arkansas senator and former Army officer who caused outrage by demanding ‘sending in the troops’ with illegal ‘no quarter’ orders to quell protests.
But they also include a series of senators facing strong Democratic challenges, including Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Arizona’s Martha McSally, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Georgia’s David Perdue.
A voice vote indicates that the amendment passed without objection, but it also means there’s no accounting for who on the committee voted aye and who voted nay, if anyone.
If all the Democrats voted in the affirmative, they’d need just one Republican for the amendment to pass, however passage via a voice vote indicates a larger group of senators said yes.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests that have taken place all across the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death have renewed discussions on the appropriateness of memorializing Confederate figures.
Currently 10 Army bases are named after Confederate leaders.
Southern states that joined the Confederacy during the Civil War-era did so in order to keep their status as slave states.
On Monday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told Politico that he was ‘open’ to renaming these 10 facilities.
Politico reported that Defense Secretary Mark Esper – who has been at odds with Trump over how to deal with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations – also supported the discussion.
The Warren amendment, according to CNN, would extend further than renaming the 10 bases and would create an independent commission that would develop a plan to remove the name of Confederates from bases, installations, facilities, ships and planes.
One of the ships in the Navy’s fleet, for example, is called the Chancellorsville and was named after the battle of Chancellorsville, a Civil War engagement that was considered Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory, according to the Navy Times.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened up her Wednesday briefing reading a statement from Trump that mirrored his tweets, which he had pushed out minutes before she took to the podium.
McEnany was asked if the president supported the Navy’s move to ban Confederate flags from flying at its bases and on ships.
She said she wasn’t sure of his position on that.
‘He does, as I noted at the top of the briefing, fervently stand against the renaming of our forts,’ McEnany answered.
McEnany said that the ‘great American fortresses’ were important because they respresented the last places war dead spent time in the U.S. before fighting in battles in ‘Europe and Afghanistan and Iraq.’
‘And to suggest that these forts are somehow inherently racist and their names need to be changed is a complete disrespect to the men and women,’ she argued. ‘For the last bit of American land that they saw before they went overseas and lost their lives were these forts.’
McEnany was also asked if the president would veto a bill from Congress that changed the name of a base frmo a Confederate general to a Union general, the side that won the Civil War, and represents the modern-day United States.
‘The president will not be signing legislation that will be renaming American forts,’ she said.
A reporter then pointed to an op-ed writtten by Gen. David Petraeus, who had argued that bases shouldn’t be named after people who fought against the United States.
Petraeus also pointed out that many of the Confederates honored, like Gen. Braxton Bragg, were notoriously bad at their jobs.
‘Fort Bragg is known for the heroes within it,’ McEnany responded.
The president has long sided with the ‘heritage’ argument to keep Confederate monuments and memorials erected.
This is how he got in hot water in August 2017, standing up for demonstrators – made up of neo-Nazis, KKK members and other white supremacists – in Charlottesville, Virginia, who wanted the city’s Robert E. Lee statue to remain.
‘You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,’ Trump told reporters referencing, first, the Unite To Right protesters, and then the counter-protesters who came out.
One of the counter-protesters, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, had been moved down on the streets of Charlottesville by a neo-Nazi, who is now serving a life-long prison term.
‘You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue,’ Trump said of the Lee monument.
The president then compared Lee to George Washington, the country’s first president who led the Revolutionary War troops – but who was also a slave-owner.
‘Who will get erased next?’: Trump’s press secretary warns Washington or Jefferson could be next… or Biden
‘Should George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison be erased from history? What about FDR and his internment camps? Should he be erased from history? Or Lyndon Johnson? Who has a history of documented racist statements,’ McEnany asked reporters.
She also pointed at comments presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden made about working with segregationist senators – and suggested he could be impacted by the fallout too.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended President Trump’s decision to refuse to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders by asking where the country should draw a line
‘And finally what about people that are alleged by the media to be segregationists?’ McEnany said referencing Biden and the news coverage that came after he made the controversial comments last June.
McEnany also brought up the decision to pull the Civil War-era drama ‘Gone with the Wind’ from the HBO Max library.
‘I’m told that no longer can you find on HBO “Gone with the Wind,” because that is somehow now offensive,’ McEnany said.
She went on: ‘Should George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison be erased from history? What about FDR and his internment camps? Should he be erased from history? Or Lyndon Johnson? Who has a history of documented racist statements.
‘And finally what about people that are alleged by the media to be segregationists?’
She then used the opportunity to focus the press’ attention back on Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee, for his work in the Senate with segregationists.
Biden got himself in political hot water last June when he boasted about being able to work with people who didn’t share his values, including some of the segregationists that remained in the U.S. Senate.
Rival Cory Booker, a black U.S. senator from New Jersey, along with a number of other Democrats, criticized the former vice president for his remarks.
At the June Democratic debate in Miami, Sen. Kamala Harris, who is black, also took Biden to task for his position on busing.
McEnany left the podium asking reporters if the Biden center should also be renamed.
Ft. Hood Military Base in Fort Hood, Texas, headquarters of III Corps. Named on opening in 1942 for General John Bell Hood
Kayleigh McEnany even brought up Joe Biden, who got in political trouble last June for boasting that he’d been able to work with segregationists while in the U.S. Senate
Racist past of Confederate generals with bases named after them including Leonidas Polk who owned 400 slaves, KKK leader John Brown Gordon and Henry Benning who feared a ‘land in possession of the blacks’
Henry L. Benning (pictured) owned at least 89 slaves on his 3,000 acres of land
HENRY L. BENNING – FORT BENNING, ALABAMA-GEORGIA BORDER
The home of the United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning was named in 1917 for plantation owner and Confederate general Henry L. Benning.
Benning was a Georgia lawyer who became an outspoken defender of slavery and advocate for secession in the lead-up to the Civil War.
His father owned more than 100 slaves, and tax records from 1863 show that he owned at least 89 slaves himself along with more than 3,000 acres of land.
These investments gave him a total wealth of more than $150,000, and one historian has described him as ‘devoted to slavery’.
In early 1861 he took his secessionist campaign to Virginia, where he complained to the legislature that the abolition of slavery would lead to ‘black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything. Is it to be supposed that the white race will stand for that?’
Fort Benning, Alabama/Georgia ‘Home of the Infantry.’ Named in 1917 for plantation owner Henry L. Benning, who argued for secession from 1849, and railed against ‘black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything’
He also predicted that ‘the land will be left in the possession of the blacks, and then it will go back to a wilderness and become another Africa or Saint Domingo’.
Imagining a world in which former slave Frederick Douglass became President, Benning said: ‘I say give me pestilence and famine sooner than that.’
Benning also made explicit that Georgia was fighting for slavery, saying secession had come from ‘a deep conviction that a separation from the North was the only thing that could prevent the abolition of her slavery’.
During the Civil War he became a colonel in the Georgia militia and was promoted to brigadier general in 1863, fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg later that year. He died in 1875.
Braxton Bragg (pictured) bought a plantation in Louisiana which came with 105 slaves
BRAXTON BRAGG – FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
Fort Bragg is home to more than 50,000 troops and hosts the Army’s Special Operations Command. It was named after Confederate general Braxton Bragg in 1918.
Born in North Carolina, Bragg moved to Louisiana in 1856 where he and his wife bought a sugar plantation for $152,000 – which came with 105 slaves.
The Army says the base is named for Bragg’s actions during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s, but Bragg was also a Southern general described as ‘the most hated man of the Confederacy’.
Although he was skeptical about secession, he defended the South’s right to do so and seized a Union arsenal in Baton Rouge in January 1861.
Fort Bragg is named after Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, who was known for being notoriously bad at his job. In the past, Gen. David Petraeus had argued that the 10 installments named after Confederate officers should be renamed since they fought against the U.S.
Beginning the war as a major-general in Louisiana, he rose to become a general and commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi.
However, he preded over a series of Confederate defeats and was disliked by his subordinates because of his bad temper and combative personality.
One officer called him him ‘self-willed, arrogant and dictatorial,’ while another soldier labelled him ‘obstinate, haughty and authoritative’.
Historians have said that Bragg ‘did as much as any Confederate general to lose the war’ because of his string of military losses.
Bragg resigned as a commander in 1863 but continued to serve as a military adviser to Jefferson Davis and remained in the Confederate cabinet until its defeat.
John Brown Gordon (pictured) owned a 14-year-old girl as a slave
JOHN BROWN GORDON – FORT GORDON, GEORGIA
Fort Gordon, established during World War II, was named for Confederate lieutenant-general John Brown Gordon.
Gordon supported secession and owned slaves as a young man, investing in coal mining operations in Georgia and Tennessee.
In 1860, the census showed him owning one 14-year-old girl as a slave, while his father owned four slaves.
When war broke out, he returned home to Alabama and became a colonel – impressing Robert E. Lee by promising to hold his ground ‘until the sun goes down’.
Later promoted to brigadier-general, he led a brigade of Georgia regiments during the Gettysburg campaign in 1863.
Although he led a failed assault on Fort Stedman in the final months of the war, Gordon has been called ‘one of the most successful commanders’ in Lee’s army.
After the war he entered politics, becoming both a US Senator from Georgia and the Governor of the same state.
He was also rumored to be a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and one historian said it was ‘almost certain’ that he was head of the KKK’s Georgia branch.
Gordon also served as commander-in-chief of the United Confederate Veterans. He lived until 1904.
Leonidas Polk (pictured) is thought to have had as many as 400 slaves on plantations
LEONIDAS POLK – FORT POLK, LOUISIANA
This base was named after Leonidas Polk, who was both a bishop in the Episcopal Church and a major-general in the Confederate Army.
Polk, a cousin of 11th US President James Polk, is thought to have had as many as 400 slaves on sugar plantations in Tennessee.
His family owned more than 100,000 acres of land and he initially went to West Point, but diverted to religious life and became Bishop of Louisiana in 1841.
Although he had no military experience, he had trained with Jefferson Davis at West Point and used this connection to become a major-general in the Confederate army.
Polk also supported the secession of the Southern states by withdrawing his own ecclesiastical diocese from the national church.
Known as the ‘Fighting Bishop’, he blundered early on by ordering troops into neutral Kentucky – prompting the border state to ask for Northern help.
He later clashed with the above-mentioned Braxton Bragg, who accused him of disobeying orders during the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.
Polk was killed in action in 1864 while fighting at Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Robert E. Lee (pictured) inherited slaves from his father-in-law in 1857
ROBERT E. LEE – FORT LEE, VIRGINIA
Fort Lee, 25 miles south of Richmond, is named after Confederate general-in-chief Robert E. Lee.
Lee fought in the Mexican-American War and spent three years as a superintendent at West Point, training some of the men who would later serve under him.
He owned slaves from the age of 22, when he inherited several families of black people after the death of his mother Ann Lee.
In 1857, his father-in-law left him 189 slaves who worked on the estates of Arlington, White House, and Romancoke.
The will provided that the slaves should be freed after five years, but Lee tried multiple times to resist this and keep the slaves under his control.
Although he was ‘not a pro-slavery ideologue’ according to one historian, Lee was known to use ‘violence typical of the institution of slavery’ and some slaves tried to escape his discipline. Some were recaptured and beaten on Lee’s orders.
He did not finally free the slaves until three days before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation would have done so anyway.
Lincoln had offered Lee the command of Union forces in 1861, but Lee defected instead and became a general in the Confederate army.
Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia did battle with Grant’s federal troops in some of the defining battles of the war, which ended with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865. Lee died in 1870.
P.G.T. Beauregard (pictured) grew up in a slave-owning household in Louisiana
P.G.T. BEAUREGARD – CAMP BEAUREGARD, LOUISIANA
A National Guard training facility, this base was initially named Camp Stafford but renamed after Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard in 1917.
Beauregard was a U.S. Army officer who served in the Mexican-American War in the 1840s, but defected to support the Confederacy when Louisiana seceded in 1861.
Born on a sugar plantation outside New Orleans, Beauregard had grown up in a slave-owning household and later rented slaves for himself while in the military.
Commissioned as a Confederate brigadier-general in 1861, Beauregard commanded the defenses of Charleston during the bombardment of Fort Sumter which marked the start of the Civil War.
Beauregard commanded Southern troops throughout the war, including at the 1862 Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee and during the defense of Petersburg in 1864.
But by 1865 he was among the generals who persuaded Confederate president Jefferson Davis to surrender and end the war.
After the war he wrote that ‘in seventy-five years the colored race [would] disappear from America along with the Indians and the buffalo’, although for tactical reasons he advised his fellow white Southerners to accept black voting rights.
In later life he became wealthy in his own right by promoting the Louisiana Lottery. He died in 1893.
Ambrose Powell Hill (pictured) quit the US Army to join the Confederacy
AMBROSE POWELL HILL – FORT A.P. HILL, VIRGINIA
A US Army training center in Virginia, this base was established during World War II and named after Confederate general Ambrose Powell Hill.
Hill was not a slave owner, but quit the US Army in 1861 to join the 13th Virginia Infantry at the outbreak of the Civil War.
He rose through the ranks from colonel to brigadier-general, then major-general and finally lieutenant-general after the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.
However, he was criticized for his ‘less than stellar’ performance on the first two days of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Hill reputedly said that he did not want to survive the fall of the Confederacy – and indeed he did not, although he only missed Lee’s surrender only by a few days. Hill was killed in action in April 1865, shot by a Union soldier during a battle in Petersburg, Virginia.
John Bell Hood (pictured) was from a neutral state but chose to fight for the South
JOHN BELL HOOD – FORT HOOD, TEXAS
Fort Hood is the Army’s ‘premier installation to train and deploy heavy forces’, and is named after Confederate general John Bell Hood.
Hood was from Kentucky, which declared itself neutral in the war, and had previously served in the US Cavalry after graduating from West Point, where he met Lee.
The Hood family owned seven slaves in the 1830 census and had 11 slaves by 1840, and Hood himself had a fortune of nearly $10,000 by the end of his life.
In 1861, he chose to fight for the South in the Civil War and had been promoted to brigadier-general by 1862.
On one occasion he gave orders to procure thousands of slaves – demanding the ‘services of 4,000 negroes’ for his army.
By 1864 he was leading Confederate forces in defense of Atlanta, but failed to stop Sherman advancing through Georgia with his Union troops.
After the war he wrote a memoir called Advance and Retreat described as the ‘bitter attempt of a soldier to rebut history’s judgment of himself’. He died in 1879.
George Pickett (pictured) came from a family which owned dozens of slaves
GEORGE PICKETT – FORT PICKETT, VIRGINIA
This National Guard facility is named after George Pickett, the Confederate general responsible for Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
His Virginia family owned 42 slaves in 1830 and 23 slaves in 1850, when his father was recorded as having a wealth of $50,000.
Pickett graduated from West Point in 1846 – although he came last in his class – but defected to the Confederacy at the outbreak of war in 1861.
His charge at Gettysburg proved a disaster when he lost more than half of his command to death, injury or capture.
In 1864, he signed off the execution of 22 Union soldiers from North Carolina after they were captured at New Bern.
However, he escaped justice from a military tribunal after Ulysses Grant – a former West Point classmate – intervened to protect him.
He was also saved by President Andrew Johnson’s 1866 proclamation that the rebellion was over, allowing him to return from exile in Canada. He died in 1875.
Edmund Rucker (pictured) served under Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest
EDMUND RUCKER – FORT RUCKER, ALABAMA
Home to the Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker was originally named Ozark Triangular Division Camp but was later renamed after Confederate general Edmund Rucker.
Rucker served under General Nathan Bedford Forrest during the Civil War and was appointed as an honorary general himself.
Rucker was in Forrest’s cavalry during the Fort Pillow Massacre in 1864 when hundreds of African-American troops were killed by Confederate forces.
After the war he became an industrialist in Alabama, working as president of a railroad firm and director of an iron and steel company. He lived until 1924.
Credit — dailymail.co.uk