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Fox News host Chris Wallace tried but failed Sunday to strong-arm President Donald Trump into renaming military bases that are named after Confederate generals.
“The National Defense Authorization Act, you have threatened to veto it because in the bill it would — and this is supported by Republicans as well as Democrats — it would rename army bases named for Confederate generals,” Wallace lectured the president during an interview between the two that aired on Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday.”
“Now, this is a bill that funds military operations, it gives soldiers a pay raise. You’re going to veto that?” he then asked with a raised, exasperated voice.
Listen to the president’s angry response below:
(Source: Fox News)
“No, because they’ll get their pay raise. Hey, look, don’t tell me this! I got soldiers the biggest pay raises in the history of our military,” the visibly annoyed president replied.
“I got soldiers brand new equipment, brand new jets, brand new rockets, brand new – $2.5 trillion. I did more for the military than any president that’s ever had this office.”
“But you’re going to veto this bill?” Wallace then interjected.
“Because I think that Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, all of these forts that have been named that way for a long time, decades and decades …,” the president tried replying, only to be cut off by Wallace, as usual.
“But the military says they’re for this,” the FNC host said.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” Trump promptly replied, because unlike Wallace’s other interviewees (or victims?), he doesn’t stand for being cut off.
He continued by pointing out that the decision rests with him — not the military’s leaders — and then suggesting that Wallace go to one of these forts himself and ask the soldiers stationed there “how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg?”
He may have had a point, because these days it seems the military’s leaders and officials don’t always share the same perspective as the military’s actual soldiers.
Case in point:
A U.S. Army employee on Monday sent an email invite to likely thousands of military and civilian members for a U.S. Army ‘Operation Inclusion’ listening tour, which included a graphic that said saying “MAGA” is evidence of white supremacy. The Army says it was “sent in error.” pic.twitter.com/NUvm0lMVMh
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) July 9, 2020
It’s presumed the “employee” mentioned above was a high-level operative.
The president continued his response to Wallace by sarcastically asking the FNC host who he’d rename America’s military bases after.
“And then what are we going to name it? We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton? What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you’re going to name it?” he said.
He added that renaming bases like Fort Bragg would be a disservice to American history.
“So there’s a whole thing here. We won two World Wars, two World Wars, beautiful World Wars that were vicious and horrible, and we won them out of Fort Bragg, we won out of all of these forts that now they want to throw those names away,” he said.
“And, no, I’m against that, and you know what, most other people are. And I even – I don’t believe in polls because I see the fakest polls I’ve ever seen, but that poll is a 64 percent thing, which actually surprised me. We won World Wars out of these military bases. No, I’m not going to go changing them, I’m not going to go changing them.”
Despite receiving his answer, Wallace repeated his question once again.
“So you’ll veto them?” he said.
“I might. Yeah, I might,” the president replied.
Earlier in the interview — before this heated question-and-answer over renaming military bases — the two spoke about the president’s belief that the issue of Confederate names/flags is one of freedom of speech, not racism.
“This week you said that Black Lives Matter and the Confederate flag are both matters, issues of freedom of speech But in the case of the Confederate flag, there are a lot of people who say these were traitors who split from this country, fought this country in large part to preserve slavery. Is the Confederate flag offensive?” Wallace said.
“It depends on who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about. When people – when people proudly have their Confederate flags, they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the south, they like the south. People right now like the south. I’d say it’s freedom of, of, of many things, but it’s freedom of speech,” the president replied.
Byron Thomas, a black former University of South Carolina student who penned a column in 2015 detailing his love of the Confederate flag and bemoaning the hatred and bigotry he experiences for that love, would agree 100 percent with the president.
“So you’re not offended by it?” Wallace pressed.
“Well, I’m not offended either by Black Lives Matter. That’s freedom of speech,” the president responded.
Keep in mind that unlike Confederate flag lovers, who are largely nonviolent, those who proudly showcase their “Black Lives Matter” support tend to be very violent.
“And you know, the whole thing with cancel culture, we can’t cancel our whole history. We can’t forget that the north and the south fought. We have to remember that, otherwise we’ll end up fighting again. You can’t just cancel,” the president added.
Wallace then went on to try and strong-arm the president into renaming America’s military bases, thus proving that he didn’t hear a single word the president had said, as usual.