The White House press secretary claimed that keeping the name of a Confederate general who fought against the United States was a way of honoring American soldiers.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Donald Trump's insistence U.S. military bases must not be renamed in order to preserve the "heritage" of the pro-slavery Confederate generals for whom they are named.
"These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom," Trump tweeted Wednesday. It is not the first time Trump defended the legacy of the Confederacy, and specifically, Confederate generals who fought against the United States to defend the practice of slavery.
At the press briefing later that day, McEnany specifically said the name of Fort Bragg in North Carolina should be kept to honor black soldiers who fought in World War II.
"When you think of Fort Bragg, we think of the brave soldiers that deployed from there," McEnany said. "The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion — this was the first black parachute battalion, trained at this fort. We must recognize the sacrifices made by these men and women, some of whom saw Fort Bragg for the last time before they went overseas."
Fort Bragg was named after Gen. Braxton Bragg, who was routed at the Battle of Chattanooga in 1863, which the Encyclopedia Britannica notes "contributed significantly to victory for the North." Bragg was subsequently relieved of his command by Confederate leadership.
From a June 10 press briefing:
McENANY: The president will not be signing legislation that renames America's forts. It's important to note — you know, Fort Bragg, for example, it's one of the largest military installations. It's home to tens of thousands of brave American soldiers.
And when you think of Fort Bragg, we think of the brave soldiers that deployed from there. We think of all five World War II airborne divisions. The 2nd, the 101st, the 11th, the 13th, the 17th. All trained at Fort Bragg. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion — this was the first black parachute battalion, trained at this fort.
We must recognize the sacrifices made by these men and women, some of whom saw Fort Bragg for the last time before they went overseas. And we've got to think of the Fort Bragg soldiers that have led humanitarian operations, like in Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. We've got to honor what has happened there, not rename it.
So that is an absolute nonstarter for the president.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.