President Trump says no change at military bases named for Confederate officers

‘my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations’

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo a sign for at Fort Bragg, N.C., is shown. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, both former Army officers, put out word that they are open to a bipartisan discussion of renaming Army bases like North Carolinas Fort Bragg that honor Confederate officers associated by some with the racism of that tumultuous time. (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo a sign for at Fort Bragg, N.C., is shown. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, both former Army officers, put out word that they are open to a bipartisan discussion of renaming Army bases like North Carolinas Fort Bragg that honor Confederate officers associated by some with the racism of that tumultuous time. (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File) (Copyright 2020The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will "not even consider" changing the name of any of the 10 Army bases that are named for Confederate Army officers. Two days earlier, Defense Secretary Mark Esper indicated that he was open to a broad discussion of such changes.

"These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom," Trump wrote. "The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations."

Name changes have not been proposed by the Army or the Pentagon, but on Monday, Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy indicated in response to questions from reporters that they were “open to a bipartisan discussion” of renaming bases such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Benning in Georgia.

Supporters of disassociating military bases from Confederate Army officers argue that they represent the racism and divisiveness of the Civil War era and glorify men who fought against the United States.

To amplify Trump's view, his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, read his tweets to reporters in the White House briefing room. She said he is "fervently" opposed to changing the base names and believes that doing so would amount to "complete disrespect" for soldiers who trained there over the years.