Pentagon leaders circulated a draft policy on Monday that would prohibit displaying the Confederate flag at military bases as President Donald Trump questioned NASCAR’s decision to ban the flag at races and venues.
The policy has not yet been finalized or signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, but military personnel are reviewing how to ensure the ban could be properly enforced, a defense official directly familiar with the document told CNN.
If the draft Pentagon policy is approved, it would bring the other branches of the military in line with the Marine Corps, which banned the flag from being displayed on its bases in June, The Associated Press reported.
“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the United States Marine Corps said in a statement posted on Twitter on June 5.
Today, the Marine Corps released guidance on the removal of public displays of the Confederate battle flag.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) June 6, 2020
“The Marine Corps shall remove the Confederate battle flag form all installation public spaces and work areas in order to support our core values, ensure unit cohesion and security, and preserve good order and discipline.”
Other military services were ready to follow suit, but Esper wanted to review the matter and come up with a department policy.
The proposed policy, obtained by the AP, says that the military “must cultivate an environment in which we trust one another completely and treat each other with dignity and respect. Unlike the United States flag, the Confederate battle flag tends to promote division not unity, among our people.”
It is unclear if Trump will have any input on the planned policy or if he will make a move to stop it.
In a Monday tweet, the president said that NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag has caused the “lowest ratings EVER!”
The decision was made after what appeared to have been a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage. Wallace is the NASCAR Cup series’ only full-time black driver.
An FBI investigation found that “the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall.”
“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” NASCAR said in a statement.
Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
“I spoke to him this morning about this, and he said he was not making a judgment one way or the other,” McEnany said.
“The intent of the tweet was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans and those who have gone, and this rush to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime when, in fact, the FBI report concluded this was not an intentional racist act.”
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