Senior Republican Senator John Thune signaled Tuesday, that he is open to discuss renaming Confederate military bases and national monuments, citing the “timing and circumstances” of the country.
Thune told reporters, “I think you reevaluate … where we are in the country, who we want to revere … I think you have to take into consideration context, and the context in this case, suggests that maybe it’s time to take another look.”
His comments come after a provision to the annual defense policy bill passed last Wednesday by the Republican Majority Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, now requires the Pentagon to rename military bases and other sites that honor the Confederacy within three years. Thune is the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate, and his comments make him the highest ranked GOP Senator to show possible support for the removal of symbols of the Confederacy. (RELATED: At This Rate, Confederate Statues Could Be Gone In 50 Years)
The South Dakota Senator’s comments put him at odds with other high-ranked Republican officials, including President Donald Trump who responded to Warren’s proposal in a tweet.
Seriously failed presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars. Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020
In contrast, Senator Mike Rounds, senior member of the Armed Services who serves South Dakota alongside Thune, has expressed public support for such removal, stating, “this is the right time for it. And I think it sends the right message.”