WASHINGTON, D.C. — Both Ohio’s senators said Wednesday they agree with renaming military bases currently named after Confederate soldiers, and hope President Donald Trump doesn’t veto a crucial bill to stop it.
The U.S. Senate is currently working on the National Defense Authorization Act.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he has secured amendments to the act that would bring billions of dollars to a tank plant in Lima and increase efficiencies at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, while U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says the bill would increase pay for U.S. soldiers.
“This may be one of the few vehicles that goes through the whole process this year,” Portman said. “So we need to be sure to get the maximum number of good legislative proposals for Ohio in there.”
On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to say he would veto the bill if it included an amendment to change the names of military bases currently named after Confederate soldiers.
“I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!” Trump tweeted.
“The President of the United States would consider vetoing a bill that renames military bases while at the same time that same bill gives service men and women a raise,” Brown said.
He added he is “amazed” that Trump would call out people wanting to rename the bases, calling the Confederate generals for whom they are named traitors to the United States.
“These Confederate generals, many of them went to West Point, and they raised their right hand and pledged their support for the United States government, and then they went to war with the United States government,” Brown said.
“So they should have their names on nothing, period,” he added.
Portman said he would agree with renaming the bases, as long as the proper procedure is followed, and that he hoped the president wouldn’t veto the bill.
“As far as renaming the bases, I’d be okay with it as long as it followed the normal process, which is, as I understand it, the Defense Department has the ability to do it, specifically the Army, because they are all Army bases,” Portman said.
“My hope would be they would go through the proper process and name these bases after individuals who are deserving as being held up as good examples, and I would think Medal of Honor winners would be a good place to start,” he added.
Both senators also cited family members they said they believed would approve of the renaming of bases.
“My dad was at Fort Benning, and I think he was at Fort Hood for awhile too, and I think if he was with us today he would say this was not about the name of the base, he had a great experience in the Army, but it’s about the camaraderie and the positive experiences there, it had nothing to do with the name,” Portman said.
“I think he would be for this, too,” he added. “I would hope the legislation wouldn’t be vetoed because of that.”
“My mother was from a small town in Georgia, and if she was still around she would support renaming them, too,” Brown said.
Portman said he didn’t anticipate the Defense Authorization Act getting passed in the Senate by the end of the week when it leaves for break, but he hoped it could be finished shortly after it returns July 20.