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Trump Budget Drops Program Honoring Slain Ambassador

It's the third time Trump administration has eliminated the program's funding
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2020 12:30 PM CST

(Newser) – The Trump administration has left an organization created in honor of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack, out of its next budget. The fiscal 2021 budget proposal eliminates the $5 million requested for the nonprofit Stevens Initiative, part of the $420 million cut from the State Department's cultural and educational programs, the Washington Post reports. The Stevens Initiative funding has been cut for the past two years, but Congress put it back in both times. A State Department official said it's possible the $5 million for the program—the same amount it has received the past two years—could show up elsewhere in the budget before the final version is approved. The organization advocates online exchanges among US, Middle East, and North Africa students.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his name investigating the Benghazi attack, Foreign Policy points out, and blaming Hillary Clinton, his predecessor, and other Democrats for the deaths of four Americans. Pompeo was a second-term congressman from Kansas at the time. Donald Trump said the same things in campaigning on the issue in 2016. "By the way, with Benghazi and with our ambassador—remember? That’s all Hillary Clinton, folks," Trump said. The Stevens Initiative says it's helped tens of thousands of students with virtual cultural exchanges. A colleague of the ambassador to Libya said Stevens' interest "was in communities we couldn't otherwise reach." (Read more federal budget stories.)

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