WASHINGTON, DC -- In a midnight tweet seeking once again to divide rather than unite Americans, President Trump vowed to prioritize keeping bases named after Confederate generals over the welfare of U.S. forces who are fighting to defend our nation.

President Trump explicitly threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 unless it drops a bipartisan provision establishing a Pentagon commission to rename U.S. military bases that honor Confederate leaders within three years.

Noting that the NDAA authorizes funding levels and sets policies to equip, supply, and train our troops and provide for military families, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, and a former Army Ranger who trained at Fort Benning and was stationed at Fort Bragg, issued the following statement:

“Prioritizing the base names of Confederate generals over the welfare of our troops is just plain irresponsible and wrong.  

“The vast majority of Americans want to engage in ending racism and bring people together.  A change in base names is both overdue and an opportunity to honor American heroes who fought for our country and have a meaningful connection to these places. 

“What makes these bases so special is the people inside them and the shared values they defend, not the name on the gate. 

“Before taking the NDAA hostage, I hope President Trump actually read the amendment.  If he did, he’d know it sets up a thoughtful, multi-year process that consults with officials from the affected bases, localities, and states.

“The President claims to revere these places, but hasn’t taken the time to visit most of them.  He really should learn about the history of these generals, go visit these bases, talk to people on post, and listen to differing viewpoints.  That is exactly the process that this bipartisan amendment establishes, and it’s why I expect it to remain in the NDAA.”