Trump and McConnell rescue Stars and Stripes after trying to kill it

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It’s good to see that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump seem ready to give up at least part of Trump’s war on the free press and the US military.

In the end.

Both McConnell and Trump have come out in recent days to shut down Stars and Stripes, the independent military newspaper that has published stories throughout its history that presidents, generals and admirals hoped to bury.

Last week the newspaper reported that editors there had been instructed by Pentagon chiefs to develop a plan to vacate government offices around the world by the middle of the month and cease publication on September 30th.

“Oh, Lordy no! We don’t want that,” is the chorus of Trump and McConnell, who position themselves as saviors of the news source that many soldiers, sailors and aviators have relied on for generations.

“The United States of America will NOT cut funding for @ starsandstripes magazine under my supervision. It will continue to be a wonderful resource for our Great Military!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

That same day, I asked McConnell’s office about his stance on the newspaper business. His spokesman Robert Steurer did not respond.

On Tuesday, McConnell’s official Twitter account for the press office spoke out for the old newspaper.

“@StarsAndStripes has been a resource for the military community since the Civil War. I’m glad President Trump has pledged that his administration will continue to fund it, ”the account tweeted.

Both he and Trump think you weren’t paying attention. Or at least they hope you weren’t paying attention.

Stars and Stripes is a state-run military newspaper that, according to the newspaper’s website, has its roots in the American Civil War. The paper was brought back during World War I and then again during World War II, and has been published ever since.

McConnell likely read it during his four months in the Army in 1967. Trump probably never made bone spurs and so on.

Despite being a Department of Defense publication, Stars and Stripes operates independently and can write stories and editorials without interference from outside the newspaper’s chain of command. It is an invaluable resource for soldiers.

Dwight Eisenhower once called it “the soldier’s paper”.

Last year, Stars and Stripes received $ 15.5 million in taxpayers’ money to supplement its sales, advertising, and subscription income. Without the federal grant, the newspaper would surely die.

But what Trump and McConnell don’t tell you when they tweet about saving the Stars and Stripes is that they are the guys who tried to kill it.

You see, the authoritarian Trump who hates everything he can’t control – hence his constant attacks on journalists and their employers – tried in the military budget to zero the budget for the newspaper in the 2021 budget.

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The Democratic House restored funding when it passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act in July. Two days later, McConnell’s Republican Senate passed his version of the bill without restoring the $ 15.5 million cut by Trump.

Although the House of Representatives and the Senate were at odds over funding, the Trump administration ordered the newspaper to shut down – assuming it won the budget battle or maybe just didn’t spend the money allocated to the newspaper if it was in the budget.

Plans to kill the newspaper were in full swing until The Atlantic published a story last week citing confidential sources alleging that Trump spoke contemptuously of the military and called “suckers” to people who serve their country and those who died fighting are referred to as “losers”. ”

Trump has denied saying these things, but it is clear that his administration is in damage control as some key players who allegedly heard some of his comments, including former chief of staff John Kelly, have remained silent.

He wasn’t seen trying to kill the soldier and sailor’s voices while calling them “sucker” and “loser” at the same time, right?

So Trump took to Twitter to explain that the “United States of America will NOT cut funding” to Stars and Stripes – as if he wasn’t the madman behind the plan to do just that.

And then McConnell went to Twitter and said he was glad Trump decided to fund Stars and Stripes – like it wasn’t him and his cheery aides in the Republican Senate who worked hand in hand with Trump to kill it.

It’s good that the Stars and Stripes shutdown isn’t part of the plan now.

Trump has more urgent things to do … like explaining why he told journalist Bob Woodward that he knew how deadly the coronavirus was, how it was transmitted, and that all along it was many times more deadly than the flu You do not have to worry.

And McConnell must be busy looking the other way.

Joseph Gerth can be reached at 502-582-4702 or by email at [email protected] Support strong local journalism by signing up today: courier-journal.com/josephg.

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