President Donald Trump said on Friday that his administration will not cut funding to the longstanding Stars and Stripes military publication, refuting earlier reports that the Pentagon had ordered it shut down.
“The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch. It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.
The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch. It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2020
Earlier on Friday, USA Today reported a Pentagon memo that allegedly demanded Stars and Stripes’ final publication on Sept. 30.
The memo, authored by Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., allegedly required Stars and Stripes’ publisher to propose a plan to “dissolve” the newspaper by Sept. 15, as well as a timeline for “vacating government owned/leased space worldwide,” and declared the final publication of the newspaper as Sept. 30.
Stars and Stripes receives more than $15 million annually in federal funds via the federal government’s annual defense bill. The subsidy comprises half of the publication’s budget.
The Pentagon memo reportedly cites the president’s authority to dissolve the publication under his defense budget request, although the House of Representatives had repeatedly struck down efforts to exclude the publication’s funding from the 2021 defense bill. The Senate has not taken a measure on the funding.
In February, the Pentagon had announced it would be eliminating the funding in order to reprioritize funds. At the time, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said during a NATO press conference, “We trimmed the support for Stars and Stripes because we need to invest that money, as we did with many, many other programs, into higher-priority issues.”
In a letter to Esper last week, 15 senators urged him to “take steps to preserve the funding prerogatives of Congress before allowing any such disruption to take place.”