Trump’s NDAA Veto Meant to Preserve Confederate Names on Military Bases

the president is demonstrating his commitment to preserving the white supremacist legacy of Confederate leaders

Today, President Trump followed through on his threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – vital legislation Congress has approved for the past 59 years.

Both the House of Representatives (335 to 78) and the Senate (84 to 13) approved this legislative by overwhelming, veto-proof margins earlier this month.

SPLC Action Fund’s Lecia Brooks issued the following statement in response:

“As expected, President Trump vetoed the NDAA, ignoring the bill’s overwhelming, bipartisan support and rejecting the opportunity to take a step forward towards justice and racial healing. This legislation not only provides essential support for members of our armed forces, it would also mark a significant step towards righting historic wrongs by creating a commission with a three-year mandate of removing Confederate names from U.S. military bases and prohibiting the display of flags, symbols, and imagery inextricably linked to the legacies of slavery and white supremacy.

“Trump’s veto is a brazen attempt to keep this country divided by also insisting on an unrelated provision that shields social media companies from liability for the content posted by third parties. In vetoing this bipartisan legislation, the president is demonstrating his commitment to preserving the white supremacist legacy of Confederate leaders who shamelessly fought to keep Black people enslaved. The fact that he’s willing to do so at the expense of the readiness of the military itself and the health and well-being of American troops and their families is especially vexing.

“The NDAA also includes welcome limitations on the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, which currently permits the transfer of excess DoD supplies and equipment to state, county, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. We’ve seen how these military-grade weapons have been misused and even aimed at people simply exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest. Congress must stop putting weapons of war into the hands of civilian police officers.

“We call on lawmakers from both parties to recognize the overtly racist implications of the president’s veto – and then vote to override it without equivocation.”

Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent letters to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the National Guard Bureau Chief urging them to remove Confederate symbols from all of their installations in the U.S. and abroad.

In 2018, the SPLC released an updated version of its Whose Heritage? report, identifying nearly 1,800 Confederate monuments, parks, schools, state holidays and other symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces across the South and the nation.

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