Trump Mocks Fort Bragg Rebranding, Suggests Al Sharpton’s Name

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President Donald Trump pushed back on pressure to rebrand U.S. military bases that carry the names of Confederate generals, but hedged on whether he’d veto the annual defense authorization bill over the issue.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress joined in rare bipartisan support to add a provision to the defense bill that would rename the bases, and the Pentagon supports the move.

“I don’t care what the military says,” Trump said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview. “I’m supposed to make the decision.”

One of the facilities in question is Fort Bragg in North Carolina, one of several U.S. Army installations named for Confederate officers.

“Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it?”

“We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton?” Trump said to Fox correspondent Chris Wallace. “What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it?”

Trump gave conflicting answers during the interview about whether he’d veto the bill if it includes the provision. At first he said he wouldn’t because the bill includes a pay raise for military personnel. But then he said he might veto it.

Also during the interview, Trump defended those who fly the Confederate flag, which many view as a symbol of racism.

“When people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism,” Trump said. “They love their flag, it represents the South, they like the South. People right now like the South. I’d say it’s freedom of, of, of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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