WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to veto the multibillion-dollar National Defense Authorization bill over a provision that would rename military bases currently named for Confederate leaders.
Led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Democrats added the measure amid a national outcry over racial inequity, and it has some Republican support.
Democrats call Trump’s veto threat “unconscionable,” saying it puts military resources in jeopardy.
“He cares more about dead traitors than he does our national security,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, said. “In that bill is money for the training of our military men and women. It is a pay raise for them. There is money to care for their children.”
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is among the Republicans who are on board with Democrats’ amendment.
“My perspective is that those who are based or housed on those military installations, we should honor those units, not necessarily the Confederate general,” Ernst said.
She’s also open to a slower process involving public hearings, which is what Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is calling for in a competing plan that would force Congress to study the matter first.
“We should involve the local community, as well as military families and veterans. What I’m opposed to are the Democrats doing this behind closed doors, unilaterally, as part of this ‘cancel culture’ agenda,” he said.
But Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said changing the names should be a no-brainer.
“Somebody who fought for the Confederacy to try to preserve slavery to me is not someone that ought to be the subject of honor,” he said.
In a Wednesday tweet, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., dared Trump to veto military raises in defense of the Confederacy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not weighed in.