President Trump overrode his defense secretary and vowed to continue funding Stars and Stripes, the military’s editorially independent newspaper that covers issues relevant to members of the armed forces, after news the administration ordered the organization to shutter leaked to the public.
Trump tweeted Friday afternoon that the US “will NOT be cutting funding” to the outlet. The President’s tweet came as he faces significant uproar over a report in The Atlantic that said he disparaged military members.
The Defense Department, which notified Stars and Stripes in February that it intended to cut funding, said in an August 4 memo to the outlet’s publisher that it had “decided to discontinue the publication” of the newspaper.
The memo, first reported Friday by USA Today and independently obtained by CNN, instructed Stars and Stripes publisher Max Lederer to provide the Defense Department a plan that “dissolves” the organization by January 31, 2021. The memo said Stars and Stripes should cease publishing by September 30, 2020, when the fiscal year ends
A Defense Department spokesperson deferred to the President’s tweet when CNN asked for comment.
Stars and Stripes, which was first produced during the Civil War by Union soldiers, is partially funded by Congress. In its 2021 budget, the House specifically included funding for the publication. The Senate, however, has not released its appropriations bill for 2021.