Trump reverses Pentagon plan, says 160-year-old military newspaper won't be shut down

The paper will 'continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military,' president says.

Published: September 5, 2020 1:23pm

Updated: September 5, 2020 2:05pm

President Trump on Friday issued a public rebuke of an apparent Pentagon plan to shut down an historic military newspaper, promising to keep the publication going in contrast to a Defense Department attempt to close it down. 

In a recently surfaced memo, Paul Haverstick, the director of the Defense Media Activity, wrote in August that the Office of the Secretary of Defense had "decided to discontinue the publication of Stars and Stripes," a military publication founded in 1861. The memo said the secretary had done so "as a result of the Defense-wide Review as outlined in the President's Budget Request" for the coming fiscal year. 

"The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020," Haverstick wrote. 

Yet on Friday afternoon President Trump publicly reversed that order, pledging to continue funding the paper under his administration. 

"The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to [Stars and Stripes] magazine under my watch," Trump tweeted. "It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!"

The revelation of the intended closure generated considerable pushback from the military community. Stars and Stripes reporter Steve Benyon, for instance, wrote on Twitter that he had "read Stars and Stripes on a mountain in Afghanistan when I was a 19 year old aspiring journalist. Now I work there."

"This doesn’t stop the journalism," he added. "I’m juggling 3 future news stories today."

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