Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases

Senate Democrats are urging President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE to back down from a threat to veto a mammoth defense bill over a provision that would require the Pentagon to rename bases named after Confederate figures. 

Several Democrats — including Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (N.Y.) and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Will Pence primary Trump — and win? MORE (Mass.) and Jack ReedJack ReedSenate panel votes to make women register for draft Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee — sent a letter to Trump on Thursday saying they were "deeply troubled" by his tweet saying that he will "not even consider" renaming the bases. 

"As President and Commander-in-Chief, we urge you to stand on the right side of history and support the SASC-adopted proposal to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy from bases and other property of the U.S. military," they wrote in the letter

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition to Schumer, Warren and Reed, Democratic Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power CIA watchdog to review handling of 'Havana syndrome' cases Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag MORE (N.H.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Biden's misinformation crackdown spotlights partisan divide on content reform Number of nonwhite Democratic Senate staffers ticks up from 2020 MORE (Hawaii), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan Senate GOP likely to nix plan Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy MORE (Va.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate panel advances controversial public lands nominee in tie vote A plan to address the growing orphaned wells crisis Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (N.M.), Gary PetersGary PetersSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Here's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE (Mich.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthDemocrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal 10 books that take readers inside the lives of American leaders Overnight Health Care: Fauci clashes with Paul - again | New York reaches .1B settlement with opioid distributors | Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of US COVID-19 cases MORE (Ill.) and Doug Jones (Ala.) signed the letter. 

The Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to include an amendment from Warren to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the Pentagon to rename bases and other military assets bearing the names of Confederate leaders.

The language included in the mammoth policy bill creates a commission to come up with a plan for renaming bases and other assets. At the end of three years, the Pentagon “shall” remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederacy or anyone who served voluntarily in the Confederate army, a committee staffer said.

But the idea has faced backlash from Trump and the White House, where press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday that Trump would veto an NDAA that required renaming the bases.

Trump added in a tweet that "monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage."

ADVERTISEMENT

"Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations," he added.

But Democrats countered in their letter that Trump had a "profound misunderstanding" of the current moment in U.S. history, where the country has been rocked by days of protests after George Floyd's death. 

"Your rejection of this proposal reflects a profound misunderstanding of this moment in our nation’s history, when Americans are demanding that we reckon with a centuries-old legacy of systemic racism and our military leaders recognize that condoning Confederate symbols undermines their mission and unit cohesion," they wrote.

They added that changing the names of the bases wouldn't disrespect the military but instead address a "long-standing harm." 

"It is long past time for the United States military to cease honoring, commemorating, or otherwise celebrating those who took up arms against the United States in the Civil War, sacrificing hundreds of thousands of American lives in order to preserve the institution of chattel slavery," they added.