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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley criticized Confederate symbols before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, and called the Civil War an "act of treason."

Why it matters: Milley said that minority service members — which he noted make up 43% of the U.S. military — may feel uncomfortable that Army bases are named for Confederate generals who "fought for an institution of slavery that may have enslaved one of their ancestors."

What he’s saying: "For those young soldiers that go on to a base of Fort Hood, Fort Bragg, whatever, named after a Confederate general, they can be reminded that that general fought for an institution of slavery."

  • "I had a staff sergeant when I was a young officer who actually told me that at Fort Bragg. He said he went to work every day on a base that represented a guy who enslaved his grandparents."
  • "The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought and it was an act of rebellion. It was an act of treason at the time against the union, against the stars and stripes, against the U.S. Constitution, and those officers turned their back on their oath."
  • "I personally think that the original decisions to name those bases after Confederate generals, the 10 bases you're talking about in the Army, those were political decisions back in the 1910s and 1920s and 1930s and World War I, World War II time frame, 100 years ago. And they're going to be political decisions today."
  • Milley said he has recommended a commission to reconsider the names of military bases named after Confederate generals.

The other side: President Trump in June criticized congressional efforts to change the names of the military installations, saying he will "not even consider" renaming bases.

  • "Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!" Trump said.

Go deeper: Senate panel passes amendment to rename bases named for Confederate generals

Go deeper

VA secretary defends Trump's McCain war hero attacks as "heat of a campaign"

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended then-candidate Donald Trump's 2015 comments disparaging John McCain's service in the Vietnam War, telling CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the comments were made "in the heat of the campaign."

Flashback: Trump publicly rejected the notion that McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, was a war hero. “He’s not a war hero," Trump said. "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.