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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro wears a face mask during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill on September 16, 2020. PHOTO: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Two Hispanic congressmen, Reps. Joaquin Castro and Ruben Gallego, are asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to remove Trump loyalists from a panel charged with renaming 10 Army bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Why it matters: The request, outlined in a letter Friday written by Castro and Gallego, comes as the Biden administration purges remaining Trump-era appointees and as Hispanic and Black leaders demand that some Army bases be renamed after people of color.

Details: Earlier this month, then-Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller appointed four members to a panel created in the annual defense policy legislation that President Trump tried to stop over the renaming of bases.

  • The legislation calls for four members to be appointed by the defense secretary and four others to be named by the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.
  • The commission is intended to identify Confederate monuments for removal and to issue recommendations on how to rename the bases.

What they're saying: "These commissioners were appointed in the midst of a presidential transition by non-Senate confirmed Acting Secretary of Defense who himself was installed by a President who vetoed the (National Defense Authorization Act) in part due to opposition to renaming bases named after traitors and who incited his followers to stage an insurrection at the Capitol," Castro and Gallego wrote to Austin on Friday.

  • The letter was signed by 18 other members of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.

Between the lines: Mexican American and Black civil rights groups for years have sought to remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases.

  • The League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation's oldest Latino civil rights group, wants Fort Hood in Texas, named for Confederate General John Bell Hood, to be renamed after Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Roy Benavidez.

Go deeper

California governor declares drought emergency in most counties

A sign in April on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California's Kern County, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley, after historically low winter rainfall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.

Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.

3 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis escalates after Hamas and Israel trade rocket fire

Israeli air strikes in the southern Gaza Strip on May 10. Photo: Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Nine children were among 20 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes after Hamas fired dozens of rockets at Jerusalem for the first time since 2014 Monday, per AP and Reuters.

The big picture: The rockets come after escalating violence in Jerusalem has injured 250 Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes that began Friday.

Pelosi's Republican playbook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Republicans fight among themselves, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing the myriad ways she deals with the GOP herself.

Between the lines: We've seen Pelosi cut opponents off at the knees, like she did with President Trump, or pretend to forget their names, as she did to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now she's feeding oppo research against her House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), so others can use the same harsh rhetoric to frame the Republicans as the party of dysfunction.

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