Pentagon Considering Confederate Flag Ban Setting Up Battle With Trump

Pentagon Considering Confederate Flag Ban Setting Up Battle With Trump

The Pentagon is considering a ban on Confederate flags at all bases, an official said Monday, setting up yet another battle with President Donald Trump.

According to The Washington Post, a Pentagon official said a draft policy is being considered at the agency’s highest levels. The move would build on recent moves by military services to bar the Confederate flag and symbols on facilities they control. If the move is approved, it would be the first Defense Department-wide prohibition of such symbols.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

States, localities, colleges, universities, and organizations have responded to the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests by removing statues of Confederate leaders and renaming buildings that were named in honor of Confederate leaders and slave owners.

Last month alone, the governor of Mississippi signed a bill changing the state flag, which had the Confederate flag on it. NASCAR also banned the flag at its events and multiple states removed statues in honoring Confederate soldiers and Christopher Columbus.

President Trump said in June he would “not even consider” renaming Army bases named after Confederate soldiers. Trump also blasted NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag.

“You do what you do. It’s freedom of speech,” Trump said according to The Hill. “NASCAR can do whatever they want, and they’ve chosen to go a certain way, other people choose to go a different route.”

The situation could set up yet another battle for Trump at a time where he is losing battles to the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and a reelection bid that is being challenged by members of his own party.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have said they are willing to consider the issue.

“The secretary of defense and secretary of the Army are open to a bi-partisan discussion on the topic,” Belinsky said in a statement in June, according to Politico.

Trump’s stance could set up a clash on the issue. The Senate is currently debating the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision to rename the bases. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is also looking to add a provision changing the names as part of its defense legislation.