On Sunday, in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, President Trump reiterated his refusal to rename military bases that bear the names of Confederate officers. He also said that he supports the use of other Confederate symbols, such as the Confederate flag being flown. 

Singling out Ft. Bragg as his main talking point, the president again threatened to veto the Pentagon’s FY2021 defense budget, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), unless amendments passed by the House and Senate to change the names of the bases were eliminated. However, he did say that the three percent military pay raise, which is part of the next defense budget, would be protected. 

Back in June, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, and many members of Congress, including several Republicans, stated that they were “open” to having the bases named after Confederate generals renamed. The president wasn’t having any of it and stated that the decision was his.

“Excuse me, I don’t care what the military says,” Trump said to Wallace during the interview on Sunday. “I’m supposed to make the decision.”

When pressed by Wallace on if he were still considering a decision to veto the NDAA over the renaming of the bases, President Trump responded with “I might. Yeah, I might.”

“When people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism,” Trump said. “They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South. People right now like the South. I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”

Then using Ft. Bragg as his main talking point, the president claimed that the Fayetteville, North Carolina community would probably oppose any name change.

“What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it? The Rev. Al Sharpton? So there’s a whole thing here,” he said.