President Trump on Friday said Sen. James Inhofe, the lead Republican on the Armed Services Committee will not change the names of military bases that honor Confederate leaders.
The panel last month, led by Mr. Inhofe of Oklahoma, approved its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which included language to prompt the names of 12 military bases to be changed over the course of three years. The full Senate approved the legislation on Thursday.
In a tweet Friday, Mr. Trump said that despite the Senate’s recent approval of the key legislation, Mr. Inhofe “informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!).”
“Like me, Jim is not a believer in ‘Cancel Culture,’ ” he continued.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to veto the must-pass legislation if the final version includes language to mandate the change. He issued a formal veto threat on Tuesday ahead of the House’s vote on the legislation, which includes a similar mandate, but did not do so for the Senate’s version of the bill.
The president has argued that casting Confederate figures and symbols as racist is absurd, given that the sites have served as key training grounds for soldiers who went on to fight in World War II and other conflicts.
But lawmakers of both parties have backed efforts to rename North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, Virginia’s Fort Lee and the other 10 Army installations that bear the names of Confederate figures. Republican members have introduced legislation to block the move, but the efforts have failed in both chambers.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about the matter in a press briefing Friday afternoon and said, “I’ll leave to Sen. Inhofe how that works, legislatively speaking,” stopping short of sharing further details of the president’s tweet.