Jul 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon effectively bans Confederate flag from military installations

Mark Esper speaks into a microphone

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Pentagon effectively banned the display of the Confederate flag on military installations, per a memo signed Thursday by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Why it matters: The move was done in a way meant to largely avoid President Trump's ire by not explicitly banning it. The memo instead listed flags that are allowed to be displayed on military property, leaving out the Confederate flag.

  • On Tuesday, Trump told CBS News that flying the Confederate flag was a "freedom of speech" issue.
  • Trump also said last month that he will "not even consider" renaming the 10 U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate leaders.

What they're saying: "We must always remain focused on what unifies us, our sworn oath to the Constitution and our shared duty to defend the nation," Esper’s memo read.

  • "The flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols."

Flashback: The Navy and Marines both issued policies last month to ban Confederate symbols on their properties.

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