Trump says he 'single-handedly' picked Alabama for Space Command, contradicting Pentagon

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE on Friday said he “single-handedly” chose to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama, contradicting months of insistence from the Pentagon that the new location was chosen after careful deliberation and was not political.

“I single-handedly said, ‘let's go to Alabama,’ ” Trump said on the Alabama-based radio show “Rick and Bubba” ahead of a planned Saturday night rally in the state.

The Colorado Springs Gazette was the first to report on Trump’s comments.

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The Air Force on Jan. 13, days before Trump was set to leave office, announced that the permanent headquarters of Space Command would be moving from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. 

The decision, which the Pentagon's Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are currently investigating, was widely seen as a political tipping of the scales.

Colorado Springs already hosted Space Command’s predecessor, Air Force Space Command, at Peterson Air Force Base, and lawmakers both in and outside the state have argued that the change was last-minute and didn’t make sense.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the Gazette that Trump’s new admission should warrant a reexamination of the move.

“We have maintained throughout the process that the permanent basing decision for U.S. Space Command was not made on merit. The admission by former President Trump that he ‘single-handedly’ directed the move to Huntsville, Alabama, supports our position," Suthers told the outlet.

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Space Command was recreated under the Trump administration in December 2019 after the earlier version was shuttered in 2002 due to budget cuts. The command — which is separate from the U.S. Space Force’s responsibilities of organizing, training and equipping space forces — is meant to deal with threats on U.S. space assets from Russia and China.

Huntsville beat out 26 other cities to be the command’s new location after a tumultuous competition that took two years to complete.

After the Air Force announced Alabama as the winner, lawmakers flooded the White House and Pentagon with calls for a review of the decision. Included among those voices are Colorado’s entire congressional delegation as well as Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden meets with Jayapal to kick off week of pivotal meetings The root of Joe Biden's troubles Pressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks MORE (D-Va.) and members of the House Armed Services Committee.

Peterson Air Force Base is the current provisional headquarters of the command until 2026. Congress has not yet allocated money to move the command and the Pentagon also has not moved forward on a relocation.