Joint Chiefs Chair breaks with Trump on Confederate base names

Brushing aside a veto threat lodged by President Donald Trump against a plan in the Senate to rename military bases which honor generals of the Confederacy, the nation's top military officer signaled on Thursday to Congress that he supports an effort to examine all base names linked to Confederates.

"Those officers turned their back on their oath," Gen. Mark Milley told the House Armed Services Committee, referring to those who left the Union to fight for the South in the Civil War.

"It was an act of rebellion, it was an act of treason at the time," Milley said, embracing the idea of a military review of everything Confederate in the U.S. military, including the names of a series of Army installations.

"Those were political decisions in the 1910's, 20's and 30's," Milley said at a hearing. "And they're going to be political decisions today."

Milley told the House Armed Services Committee that he supports setting up a commission to review all Confederate matters - from names of bases to memorials and the display of the Confederate Flag.

That's exactly what a major defense policy bill would do in the Senate - but even though that measure has bipartisan support - President Trump has threatened a veto.

Democrats in the Congress have dared the President to follow through on the veto - convinced that America has shifted on the Confederate flag in the aftermath of unrest linked to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Since that Memorial Day incident, Confederate statues have come down throughout the South, as local officials have said it's time to remove them from the public square.

"Honoring treasonous leaders, displaying their flag and other racist symbology have no place in our military," said Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), who served nearly three decades in the military.

"It weakens morale and undermines our values."