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Trump 'will not even reconsider' removing confederate names from military bases

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President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable discussion with African-American supporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington.
President Donald Trump listens during a roundtable discussion with African-American supporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington.   -   Copyright  Patrick Semansky/AP Photo
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Donald Trump's administration "will not even consider" renaming confederate bases amid widespread protests against racism in the United States.

The US president responded to calls to change the military base names as statues to confederate leaders were removed in some US states.

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump tweeted.

“The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

There are ten US military installations in the country named for confederate soldiers - those who fought against ending slavery in the United States during the American Civil War. Often they were senior generals in the Confederate army.

Chris Seward/AP Photo, File
FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo a sign for at Fort Bragg, N.C., is shown.Chris Seward/AP Photo, File

Two senior defence officials including the US defence secretary had suggested earlier in the week that they were open to changing the names amid nationwide protests against racism in the country.

The protests broke out over the death of black American George Floyd on May 25 following an arrest during which a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite Floyd's cries of distress.

The US Navy and Marine Corps recently banned using the Confederate army flag at military bases as the country discusses questions of race and the US military rethinks its traditional use of these symbols.

  • The top military officer in the United States said on Thursday (June 11) he was wrong to accompany President Trump on a walk near the White House that ended in a photo opportunity at a church. Army General Mark Milley said his presence in uniform amid protests over racial injustice "created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics", and he "should not have been there".

Protesters in Virginia meanwhile tore down statues of Confederate generals in Richmond and Portsmouth on Wednesday, according to local media reports.

It's not the first time US protesters and officials have wrestled with the question of whether or not to remove confederate monuments and symbols.

North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper wrote in a 2017 article: "We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defence of slavery. These monuments should come down."

Now protesters in Europe have begun raising similar concerns about statues towards those involved in countries' slave trading or colonial pasts.

Tower Hamlets Council in London voluntarily removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan.

While in Belgium, protesters have defaced statues of King Leopold II, fuelling debates in regional Belgian governments over the statues towards the king responsible for 10 million deaths in the Congo.

Some argue that these statues and monuments glorify those who committed atrocities whereas others state that removing them is akin to removing history.