President Donald Trump on Friday said a key GOP Senator was ready to help him fight off bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, trying to block a provision from a major defense bill which would let the Pentagon change the names of military installations which honor Confederate generals.
In a tweet, the President said he spoken with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, 'who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts.'
The President's comments came a day after the Senate - including Inhofe - voted 86-14 in favor of a defense policy bill, which contained a provision giving the Pentagon three years to put together possible name changes for a series of military installations bearing the names of Confederates.
Earlier this week, the President threatened to veto a House-passed defense bill which contained a similar one year base re-naming plan; both military measures were approved by veto-proof majorities.
But, as some Democrats noted, Inhofe does not have the ultimate say over what the final defense bill will look like, as he will be part of House-Senate negotiations on a final National Defense Authorization Act.
The provisions dealing with changing the names of certain bases - like Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Benning in Georgia, and more - were all approved on a bipartisan basis, both in House and Senate committees, and on the floor this week.
At the White House, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany emphasized what she cast as a promise by Sen. Inhofe to remove the Confederate base naming provision, defending the President’s opposition to any name changes.
“The bases are not known for the Generals they’re named after; the bases are known for the heroes within it,” McEnany told reporters at a briefing.
Democrats mocked the President’s call to get rid of the Confederate provisions from both the House and Senate defense policy bills.
It’s not clear how soon House-Senate negotiations will commence on the defense bills passed by the House and Senate.