• An Army spokesman says Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are open to discussing the renaming of 10 Army installations named for Confederate leaders
  • Previously, the Army had opposed renaming the facilities, saying the monikers were chosen to facilitate reconciliation
  • An Army Times commentary notes Texas Gov. Sam Houston would not have wanted Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood as a member of his squad

President Trump on Wednesday ruled out renaming military bases that bear the monikers of Confederate leaders, saying their history is too storied “to be tampered with.” Trump’s series of tweets came after Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Defense Secretary Mark Esper said they were open to the possibility.

Calls to rename bases like Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Benning in George came amid racial equality protests that have swept the country in the wake of the police killing of a black Minneapolis man. Activists have spotlighted Confederate monuments as symbols of racial injustice.

The Army has justified the past naming of 10 Army installations for Confederate figures as having been done “in a spirit of reconciliation, not to demonstrate support for any particular cause or ideology,” the Military Times reported.

Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky said Monday, both McCarthy and Esper now are open to discussing the issue.

“To address and root out systemic inequalities we will need action based on and the ideas and understanding generated from these conversations. An obvious place for the Army to act and make immediate changes would be to rename the 10 installations named for Confederate generals,” a commentary by Gus Ashton, an officer in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, in Army Times said.

“A question I would pose to the force as we have important discussions about race and inequality is, would Gov. Sam Houston claim Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood as a member of his squad? …

“Sam Houston was the governor of Texas when the state voted to secede from the Union but refused to take the oath to the Confederacy and resigned in February 1861.

“John Bell Hood was a West Point graduate who resigned his commission in the United States Army in April 1861 to join the Confederate Army. John Bell Hood does not represent the oath that my squad swore to the support and defend the United States Constitution.”

Trump, however, put the kibosh on any action.

"[M]y Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with,” Trump tweeted.

White House press secretary Kaleigh McEnany explained Trump's thinking.