Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is leaning toward supporting a potential rename of military bases named after Confederate generals.
In an interview with Tennessee reporters Tuesday, Alexander said people should learn from history instead of erasing it. But he said that understanding the current historical context also mattered.
“I think it’s a good idea from time to time to review the people and the places that we honor with names, and make sure that we are honoring people that fit the context of the times,” Alexander said.
The movement to rename the bases is gaining momentum in Congress. Last week, a Republican and a Democratic representative introduced legislation that would make the change within a year.
That same day, the Senate Armed Services Committee — led by Republicans— passed a measure that would create a commission tasked with renaming Army installations with Confederate names. The group would also be in charge of removing Confederate symbols. But President Trump has said that’s a no-go.
Alexander, however, said he thinks it’s time to reconsider the many high-ranking military leaders post-Civil War.
“We’ve had a lot of great generals and heroes … some of them from Tennessee,” Alexander said.
This is not the first time the retiring senator has talked about Confederate monuments.
In 2017, he said the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest should be removed from the Tennessee Capitol. His comments came after four decades of defending the placement of the monument.
SCOTUS Ruling Is ‘Law Of The Land’
Alexander was also asked to weigh in on the latest decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on LGBTQ rights.
The court ruled that the federal Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from being discriminated against based on sex.
“Every American individual is entitled to dignity and respect,” Alexander said. “And the Supreme Court has spoken, and now it’s the law of the land.”