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.

Go deeper: Confederate monuments become flashpoints in protests against racism

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Far-right groups clash with anti-racism protesters in U.S. cities

The Proud Boys, a far-right group, faces off against Black Lives Matters protesters using mace and a paint ball gun in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday. Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Far-right demonstrators clashed with anti-racism protesters in several U.S. cities on Saturday, per USA Today.

Driving the news: In Portland, counter-protesters at a pro-police rally were "aiming pepper spray and firing some kind of pellet gun at people" as Black Lives Matter demonstrators marked an 80th straight day of protests, the Oregonian reports.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.