DeSantis pledges to restore name of notorious Confederate general Braxton Bragg to Fort Liberty

‘It’s an iconic name and iconic base’

Eric Garcia
Greensboro, North Carolina
Saturday 10 June 2023 01:17 BST
Fort Bragg Changes Name as Part of Army Base’s Rebranding

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pledged to restore the name of a military fort to the name of a Confederate general in North Carolina if he is elected president.

The 2024 candidate for the Republican nomination for president made the remarks at the North Carolina Republican Party convention on Friday evening.

“I also look forward to, as President, restoring the name of Fort Bragg to our great military base in Fayetteville, North Carolina,” he said during the Old North State Dinner in Greensboro. “It's an iconic name and iconic base, and we're not gonna let political correctness run amok.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Defense announced that Fort Bragg, which was established in 1918, would be renamed Fort Liberty. The Pentagon began the initiative to rename military bases in 2020 in response to the Black Lives Matter protests after a white police officer killed George Floyd.

Fort Bragg had been named for Braxton Bragg, who was a general for the Confederate States of America. He also served as a adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He also owned slaves and many in the South also despised him for abandoning Kentucky during the Civil War. Unlike other Confederate generals like Robert E Lee, he refused to surrender.

Mr DeSantis is one of three presidential candidates speaking at the state convention. Former president Donald Trump and former vice president Mike Pence will also speak at the convention.

Ron DeSantis speaking in Greensboro, North Carolina
Ron DeSantis speaking in Greensboro, North Carolina (Getty Images)

The governor also claimed to have banned “Critical Race Theory,” a niche legal theory taught in law schools but that conservatives have used as a catch-all term to describe most teaching about racism.

“We place renewed emphasis on American civics, about teaching kids about our Constitution and our Bill of Rights and about what it means to be an American,” he said. “Because no matter what avenue they take, they choose in life. they are all going to be citizens of our republic.”

Mr DeSantis also took a subtle swipe at Mr Trump during his speech.

“I tell you this leadership at the end of the day is not entertainment,” he said. “It's not brand building.”

He also emphasised how he won re-election by double digits in November, while Republicans, many of whom Mr Trump endorsed, fell short in Senate races.

“We had good stuff in some other states,” he said. “But we had huge disappointments across the board. We have 49 Republican US senators, we should have 55 Republican US Senators right now.”

Mr DeSantis launched his campaign for president last month and is often polling second against Mr Trump but continues to lag by double digits in most surveys.

The governor also touched on many themes that have also animated his campaign, such as fighting, “woke ideology,” which he called a form of “cultural Marxism.”

“Woke represents a war on truth itself,” also briefly seeming to hit the former president, who said that Republicans who crow about the word “woke” do not know how to define it.

Mr DeSantis also mentioned how he banned teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools, most notably with his “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which triggered a fight with Walt Disney.

“And I know in Florida, they basically called the shots for many, many decades but there’s a new sheriff in town,” he said.

Mr Trump and Mr Pence will address the North Carolina Republican Convention on Saturday.

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