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

Senate Democrats are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge 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 SchumerProtect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package Club for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Inequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift MORE (N.Y.) and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (Mass.) and Jack ReedJack ReedTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper | Worries grow about rudderless post-election Pentagon | Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up | Pelosi says Esper firing shows Trump intent on sowing 'chaos' Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up 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

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In addition to Schumer, Warren and Reed, Democratic Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE (N.H.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' MORE (N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (Hawaii), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Grassley tests positive for coronavirus MORE (Va.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary MORE (N.M.), Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (Mich.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' Top Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick 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."

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"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.