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Ernst says Trump should sign defense policy bill with military base renaming provision

Ernst says Trump should sign defense policy bill with military base renaming provision
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (R-Iowa) said on Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE should sign the defense policy bill, which includes a provision to rename the military bases that are named after Confederate officers.

The Iowa Republican, who is running for reelection this year, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she “would love” for Trump to sign the bill, but added more discussions on renaming the military bases would be needed. 

“I would love that he would sign the bill and move forward,” she said. 

“But, 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,” she added. 

Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she welcomes the “hard” discussions on the bases “named for generals that took up arms against the United States.”

“We want to focus on the meaningful things that will move our country forward, but I don't believe in the destruction, again, of property,” she said. 

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“If we're talking about statues that belong to other jurisdictions, those decisions should be made at that local level, not by those that are out there vandalizing that property,” she added.

Debates have ensued across the country over whether monuments and statues that honor Confederate officers and other problematic historical figures should remain standing. Some protesters demonstrating against police brutality of Black Americans have taken it upon themselves to vandalize or topple statues. 

The president tweeted last week that he would veto the defense policy bill if the amendment to rename the military bases is included in the final legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (R-Ky.) said last week that he hopes the president does not veto the bill because of the amendment. 

Several polls have shown Ernst in a tight race to keep her Senate seat in November. A Des Moines Register-Mediacom Iowa survey found the senator 3 points behind her competitor, Theresa Greenfield.