Pentagon newspaper 'Stars and Stripes' has led to a tug of war between the defense department and U.S. President Donald Trump. The Pentagon ordered the closure of the military newspaper while Trump reacted stating that he will not allow it. The issue became public after the Pentagon issued the order on Friday to close the Stars and Stripes newspaper by September 30.
Stars and Stripes is one of the popular publications that has the bipartisan support of Congress members, especially those who have served in the armed forces. The reason for closing the newspaper was not revealed by the Pentagon. However, reports claim that the White House budget request had not sought funding for Stars and Stripes.
Though there were signals that the newspaper might be closed, it was not sure till the announcement was made on Friday. Meanwhile, the Pentagon had said that it would cut $15.5 million from its budget meant for 'Stars and Stripes'.
Pentagon VS Trump
The closure order met with heavy criticism and forced Trump to put out a tweet stating that he will not allow the newspaper to close. "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!," tweeted Trump, hours after the Pentagon's order to close the publication came out.
Reports state that Trump is already facing the ire of the people, especially military vets, as one of his statements against the U.S. military during his France visit in 2018 has come back to haunt him. Trump reportedly said that service members killed in World War were "losers" and "suckers" during his visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in November 2018. Though Trump has denied the claims, the comment that was first published in The Atlantic was confirmed by The Associated Press.
This has proved beneficial to his Democratic rival Joe Biden, who is gearing up for the election less than two months away. The current news of Pentagon closing Stars and Stripes, budgetary issues are being treated like icing on the cake by Democrats. Thus Trump took quick action and defended his stance by stating that he will not allow the newspaper to be closed.
The Significance of Stars and Stripes
Starts and Stripes newspaper mainly caters to the members of the military. The newspaper saw its first publication in 1861 during the Civil War. The publication was soon discontinued but resumed again during World War I in 1918-19. The newspaper was closed after the war ended but again started publication during World War II. It has not been shut down since then.
Thus it is considered as a pride of America that is funded by the Defense Department. However, since the beginning, the Starts and Stripes is known for maintaining its editorial independence. It is seen publishing stories that do not flatter military.
Currently, if the order has to be followed, the publication will start the closing process by September 15 and will publish its last issue on September 30. The organization has been ordered to be dissolved by the end of January. Pentagon has not reacted to Trump's tweet yet.
Meanwhile 15 senators, including Republicans and Democrats, have signed and sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and warned him that the department is legally prohibited from canceling a budget program while a temporary continuing resolution to fund the federal government is in effect, stated ABC News.