Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on June 11 said that he will try to remove a requirement that the Pentagon removes the names of Confederate figures from military bases and other Pentagon assets.
The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday evening to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
According to a summary of the NDAA released by the committee Thursday, the measure requires that the Defense Department rename posts and assets either named for Confederate officers or that honor the confederacy within three years.
A commission will be established to “study and provide recommendations concerning the removal [of] names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America,” which includes military bases and other Pentagon assets such as aircraft, ships, and any type of equipment.
“I will offer an amendment to undo this effort at historical revisionism. I will offer it not to celebrate the cause of the Confederacy but to embrace the cause of union, our union, shared together as Americans,” Hawley said from the Senate floor on Thursday.
“It is time for our leaders to stop using their position here to divide us. Let us work together instead to build on the history and the responsibility that we share as Americans to continue that unfinished work of this nation, that we call home” he added.
Shortly after his speech from the Senate floor, Hawley told reporters, “I voted no on it, and I spoke against it in the committee and voiced my reservations … I just don’t think that Congress mandating that these be renamed and attempting to erase that part of our history is a way that you deal with that history.”
“I don’t think turning your back on it’s how you deal with it, confront it, and then move on,” he added.
The push to rename pentagon bases comes amid mass protests across the United States triggered by the death of African American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day. Protesters demonstrating against the wider issue of racism have targeted a number of Confederate monuments in multiple cities, leading to some state officials to consider taking them down.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Warren described the names of the military bases as a “tribute to white supremacy.”
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I filed an amendment to the annual defense bill last week to rename all bases named for Confederate generals. It’s long past time to end the tribute to white supremacy on our military installations,” she wrote.
However, President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the idea of renaming Army bases named after Confederate officers, calling them “powerful bases,” that “have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.”
“Seriously failed presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars. Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!” Trump wrote on Twitter.