President Trump reversed course Friday and announced that his administration would not eliminate funding for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper that has been keeping troops informed since the Civil War. The president’s retreat came as a flurry of news reports were blaming him for the Pentagon’s proposed budget cuts. It also came as the White House was furiously trying to deny a report in the Atlantic — quickly matched by other outlets, including Fox News — that Trump had made disparaging comments about American soldiers killed in battle.
So it was obviously in the president’s political interest to preserve a publication that is often the only source of independent news for troops in war zones. It otherwise was set to cease print and online publication by Sept. 30 under Trump’s Defense Department budget, which would have saved $15.5 million out of a $700 billion spending plan.
“The United States of America will not be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch,” Trump tweeted Friday. “It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!”