‘The President Shut It Down’: CNN’s Starr Says Trump ‘Ruled Against’ Military Leaders Open to Renaming Bases
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said Wednesday afternoon that President Donald Trump’s announcement he opposes renaming bases named for Confederate leaders “basically ruled against” top military officials who wanted to have that discussion.
Kaitlin Collins noted how the president’s announcement today puts him at odds particularly with Defense Secretary Mark Esper for the second time in a week.
Tapper pointed out that bases named for Confederate leaders (‘who, let’s be honest, were traitors to the United States”) were done so “not right after the war as an attempt at reconciliation, but in the 1920s, when Confederate leaders started dying off.
Starr noted just how seriously this put the president at odds with a lot of top military officials:
What the military had in mind was to start what they called a bipartisan conversation in the United States about how to proceed on this very sensitive point, though it’s not sensitive to a lot of people. A lot of people think it needs to be done and in the year 2020, there are military people who support keeping the names, there are military people who think the names are very divisive, and especially to black service members who go to work every day on these bases. So they wanted a bipartisan conversation to see if they could come to a way ahead. Even today the Army was quietly looking for names for a potential blue-ribbon panel to begin to discuss this. But the president shut it down. And by shutting it all down, he has basically ruled against his Defense Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several members of the Joint Chiefs who wanted that bipartisan conversation.
Tapper remarked, “It just seems like he has his base sewn up, it might be an opportunity to try to expand it. But what do I know?”
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