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President Trump defended his opposition to removing Confederate symbols in an interview with "Fox News Sunday," telling host Chris Wallace that the flag does not offend him and that for many people it "represents the South."

Why it matters: Trump has attacked organizations like NASCAR that have banned the Confederate flag, claiming it's an infringement on freedom of speech. He has also threatened to veto a defense bill that would rename military installations named for Confederate leaders, despite bipartisan support in Congress.

What he's saying: "When people proudly hang their Confederate flags, they're not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South," Trump said.

  • "I'm not offended either by Black Lives Matter, that's freedom of speech. You know the whole thing with cancel culture — we can't cancel our whole history. We can't forget that the North and the South fought."

Pressed on the issue of military bases, Trump again said he would consider vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act and dismissed the fact that military leaders support renaming them.

  • "I don't care what the military says. I'm supposed to make the decision," he said. "Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two world wars — nobody even knows General Bragg. We won two world wars."
  • "What are we going to rename it? You going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton? What are you going to name it, Chris?"

Go deeper: Pentagon effectively bans Confederate flag from military installations

Go deeper

Sep 14, 2020 - World

America's role in the world undecided heading into election

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto, and Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In 50 days, America will either double down on the disruptive force of America First or elect a man vowing to put the international order back together again.

Why it matters: America still has the world's biggest economy, most powerful military and deepest network of alliances. But it is unclear what it intends to do with them.

Biden speaks with Macron for first time since diplomatic crisis

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron have a conversation ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time since a diplomatic row erupted over a scrapped submarine order, per the White House.

Driving the news: Macron said that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week and will resume working with senior U.S. officials.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.