It is no secret that President Donald Trump and the media don’t play particularly well together.
Imagine the media’s shock, then, when it was President Trump who, in response to news that the Defense Department would be doing away with the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, made it clear that no funding would be cut from the independent media outlet.
“Will NOT be cutting funding”
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Pentagon, as part of its efforts to trim the Defense Department budget ahead of the next fiscal year, would be cutting from the budget the $15.5 million that Stars and Stripes was set to receive in 2021, The Hill reported.
Further, the Pentagon planners had ordered the media outlet to cease all publications by September 30 and to make preparations for a complete dissolution by the end of this upcoming January.
But President Trump announced via Twitter on Friday that the military’s primary media outlet won’t be going anywhere, at least as long as he is in charge.
“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!” he tweeted.
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
Trump is not alone in pushing back against the Pentagon’s plan to defund and dissolve the Stars and Stripes. The Hill noted that a bipartisan group of senators similarly expressed their opposition to the idea in a letter sent days earlier to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
“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,” the group of senators led by Dianne Feinstein wrote in the letter. “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.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote to Esper separately, noting, “As a veteran who has served overseas, I know the value that the Stars and Stripes brings to its readers.”
To be sure, there’s still no love lost between the media and the president. His move to save the military media outlet from getting the budgetary ax will likely be ignored or even questioned with suspicions toward his motives for doing so.
But at least as of now, the reporters and editors at Stars and Stripes have something to celebrate.