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Pentagon officially withdraws plan to end 'Stars and Stripes'

Pentagon officially withdraws plan to end 'Stars and Stripes'
© Greg Nash

The Pentagon has reversed its decision to shut down the U.S. military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, following pushback from President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE.

Acting Defense Media Activity Director Col. Paul Haverstick announced the decision Thursday, telling employees that the organization rescinded plans to stop publishing Stars and Stripes at the end of this month and dissolve by the end of January, a reporter for the paper wrote on Twitter.

 

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The future of Stars and Stripes has been in doubt since February when the Pentagon proposed shifting $15.5 million in federal funding away from the outlet, roughly half of the money it needs to run annually.  

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Army details new hair and grooming standards | DC National Guard chief says Pentagon restricted his authority before riot | Colorado calls on Biden not to move Space Command New Army hair and grooming standards allow for ponytails, buzz cuts and earrings Trump administration official Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief MORE defended the decision at the time, saying that the proposal was part of an effort to invest that money "into higher-priority issues." 

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers pushed back at the plan, and earlier this month a group of senators sent a letter to Esper calling on him to reinstate necessary funding for the newspaper to continue operating. 

Days later, Trump tweeted that his administration would not cut funding to the outlet which was first published during the Civil War, and continuously published since World War II.  

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“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.

 

Trump’s reversal of his own administration's plans comes as he endures scrutiny following a report in The Atlantic that said he disparaged fallen U.S. service members as “losers” and “suckers.” The White House has vehemently denied the allegations as reported by the magazine. 

The president is also facing blowback from reportedly telling White House economic adviser Peter Navarro that "his generals" were “p------" who "care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals,” according to excerpts from Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book. 

Military members and veterans represent a key group of Trump supporters as he faces reelection in two months.