Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP

Iowa Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWill the next coronavirus relief package leave essential workers behind? Hillicon Valley: Facebook bans ads from pro-Trump PAC | Uber reports big drop in revenue | US offers M reward for election interference info Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (R) acknowledged on Friday that she has received pushback from members of her own party for supporting a provision in a defense bill that would change the names of military bases named after Confederate figures.

“I’ve been getting heck from my own party. I’m willing to take that from my own party because it’s the right thing to do,” Ernst told Black community leaders in Des Moines.

Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, supports an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would require the names to change within a certain amount of allotted time.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill denotes the annual budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Her stance is at direct odds with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE who has said that he won't change the names of the bases, claiming that he wants to preserve history, and he has signaled that he might veto the bill because of the measure.

The Iowa senator told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that "would love" for the president to sign the bill.

“I would love that he would sign the bill and move forward,” Ernst said. “Absolutely, we have to have the discussions … and if that's what will help, if we can all get together as stakeholders, then I think it's the right thing to do."

ADVERTISEMENT

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) said he hopes that Trump doesn't veto the bill because of the amendment.

The push for the name changes come after protesters nationwide have toppled numerous statues and monuments of Confederate soldiers and generals and other controversial figures associated with racism. Protests were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody at the end of May.

Ernst is up for reelection in November and is expected to face a tough battle.

Des Moines Register-Mediacom Iowa poll in June found that she was trailing her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield by 3 points.