Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy stated that he would be open to bipartisan recommendations for renaming confederate statues. McCarthy, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Army Sergeant Major Michael Grinston, have all made similar pledges to do better in terms of the issue when it comes to military statues, stating to address race in America and that ‘We feel the frustration and anger’ Army reverses course, will consider renaming bases named for Confederate leaders. Mark Esper, the current Defense secretary also said that he supported changes.
That was just a few days ago. Recently, Trump has been making statements regarding federal status, stating that he would not consider renaming them, no matter what his leaders in the military said, or, whether or not there was bipartisan consensus on this issue.
To paraphrase what Maggie Haberman had to say on this issue, regarding the NYT, she views this as a distraction, to take issues away from him criticizing a 75 year old man in the protests. He did this last in 2017 in Charlottesville. “Told advisors he thought his people liked it”. The Mayor of Jacksonville where the current GOP nomination is set to take place, disagrees with him, having already moved a statue. She also says that Republicans don’t want to be debating this issue, and, while before the other officials were making it easier to come out against confederate statues, with Trump coming out in favor of confederate statues, it makes it much more harder for federal officials to come out against it. Trump opposes efforts to remove Confederate commanders’ names from military bases
It should be noted that this issue has been going on well before Trump was in office, however. The army has a history of using historical figures for military bases. Within the army, according to the military times Signs of white supremacy, extremism up again in poll of active-duty troops, one third of troops have said that they have witnessed some form of racist or white supremacy ideology, according to the military times. According to that same survey, the US troops saw white supremacy as a greater threat than terrorism.
People have expressed concern over white supremacy in the military, as, Cassie Miller, a researcher and investigator for the Southern Poverty law center points out this should not be a surprise and “We’re seen groups encouraging members to join the military, to get training in weaponry and survival skills,” Miller said. “It’s something that they really value.” She also states something a little foreboding, which, is that if white supremacy groups want to push our country into a race war, they’ll need to have knowledge of weaponry. So, they really value that kind of skill.
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