The world has since changed. Just in recent days, several prominent Army officers—notably retired Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan—have said it’s time to remove the names of the treasonous secessionists who fought against the United States in the Civil War from U.S. military facilities, including 10 large Army bases in former Confederate Southern states. In response, acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said that he would be open to a “bipartisan conversation” on the matter.
But Trump reacted with fury to the whole idea, tweeting on Wednesday that he “will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.” He finished off his tweet, laden with more capitalized letters than usual: “Respect our Military!”—although he clearly has no notion of what real military officers, who have deployed for real combat from these bases, really think.
All of this is taking place as Trump’s ratings have slid by as much as 10 percentage points just in the past week, owing in part to his hostile and aggressive response to the protests and to his political exploitation of church property, a move that has damaged his standing with many evangelicals. Now, he’s picking a high-profile fight with the military as well.