The president’s isolation in his bizarre insistence on defending memorials to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy became a bit more intense as the nation’s top military officer told the House Armed Services Committee that it was time to review the naming of bases after those who committed “acts of treason” in defense of slavery. Politico has the story:
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Thursday condemned Confederate leaders as traitors and said he supports a review of Army bases named after those who fought against the Union, a viewpoint that puts him at odds with the commander-in-chief …
“The American Civil War … was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath,” Milley said.
As Axios reported, Milley also cited morale grounds for the change:
Milley said that minority service members — which he noted make up 43 percent of the U.S. military — may feel uncomfortable that Army bases are named for Confederate generals who “fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors.”
It’s likely the second time in a month that Milley has annoyed the boss. In June he apologized for letting himself be a part of the president’s infamous St. John’s Church photo op, wherein POTUS had peaceful protesters gassed and cleared so he could pose holding a Bible.
In calling for a commission to review the base names, it’s not completely clear if Milley is on the same page as Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose amendment to create a commission to find new names for the ten facilities named after Confederates was adopted by the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of the Defense Authorization bill, a must-pass piece of legislation to most Members of Congress in both parties. But he’s definitely parted ways with his commander-in-chief, who has not only said the very idea should be permanently taken off the table, but has also threatened to veto that must-pass bill if Warren’s amendment is included in it.
If Trump persists in this reactionary madness, he could lose the fight and look foolish doing so. Earlier this week Senate president pro tempore Chuck Grassley suggested Congress would likely override a Trump veto of the defense bill. When you’ve lost key members of your party and your military brass in a temper tantrum on behalf of a bad cause, it might be time to execute a strategic retreat. You have to know a lot of people around him are making that very case. We’ll see if it matters.