President Trump on Friday afternoon drastically shifted course on the planned shutdown of Stars And Stripes, a 159-year-old newspaper for American troops funded by Congress, after reports emerged earlier in the day that his administration had told the historic paper to begin preparations to “dissolve.”
The Trump administration previously ordered the paper's dissolution.Getty Images
“The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to [Stars and Stripes] magazine under my watch,” the president Tweeted.
However, the Trump administration had previously told the newspaper to brace for dissolution by September 15, according to a USA Today article published Friday morning.
A memo (also obtained by Forbes) written by Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., the director of Defense Media Activity, in which the Pentagon instructed the paper to draft a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes,” offering a “specific timeline for vacating government owner/leased space worldwide.”
The editorially independent newspaper is delivered daily to front-line troops, often limited by a lack of internet access, and had a circulation of 7 million as of 2019.
News that the paper was in jeopardy sparked widespread public outcry.
Last week, a bi-partisan group of 15 senators wrote to the Pentagon asking to reinstate the $15.5 million in funding for Stars And Stripes that was cut from the Pentagon’s 2021 budget proposal.
“Stars and Stripes is an essential part of our nation’s freedom of the press that serves the very population charged with defending that freedom,” wrote the group of senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) “Therefore, we respectfully request that you rescind your decision to discontinue support for Stars and Stripes and that you reinstate the funding necessary for it to continue operations.”
The critiques of Trump’s attack on this famed military establishment come as a report from The Atlantic alleges Trump called U.S. World War I veterans “suckers” and “losers” and refused to visit the Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018, claims Trump has since denied. Politicians have chastised Trump all day, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who took the opportunity for a 2020 campaign knock, saying: “When my son was an assistant U.S. Attorney who volunteered to go to Kosovo while the war was going on, as a civilian, he wasn’t a sucker. The service men and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not losers.”