COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- In January, a high-level government source told KRDO that the decision to move Space Command was made by former President Donald Trump in an effort to gain favor in Alabama. Friday, Trump said on a radio show that he "single-handedly" made the call.
Space Command is currently based in Colorado Springs, but Trump announced that it would move to its permanent home at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. That decision has since prompted several investigations by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office.
Trump was interviewed Friday on the syndicated radio show Rick & Bubba, which is based out of Birmingham, Alabama. During the interview, Trump referred to the decision for Space Command's permanent home and said he solely made the decision.
"They were looking for a home, and I single-handedly said let's go to Alabama," Trump said on the show. "They wanted it, I said let's go to Alabama; I love Alabama."
AL.com was the first to report the news after the interview. You can watch a replay of the interview on YouTube.
Space Command will stay at Peterson Air Force Base for the next few years while a transition plan is made, but local lawmakers in the past have called for an intervention. Congressman Doug Lamborn, who has repeatedly made efforts to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs, said the decision was political in nature.
"We have two senators, who while doing a good job as Democrats, they are not and were not supportive of Donald Trump's agenda, whereas the Republican Senators from Alabama historically have been," Lamborn said in a statement in March.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was also critical of the decision in January, and he issued a statement Friday in response to Trump's revelation.
“We have maintained throughout the process that the permanent basing decision for U.S. Space Command was not made on merit," Suthers said in a statement. "The admission by former President Trump that he ‘single-handedly’ directed the move to Huntsville, Alabama, supports our position. Our local governments and our Congressional delegation will continue to press our case in Congress and at the White House to re-examine and ultimately overturn the move in the best interest of our nation."
After the news broke in January about Trump's intervention in the Space Command decision, the Air Force did release a statement saying Huntsville was the "preferred choice" and showed that Huntsville was better than Colorado Springs in at least 10 categories, including cost of living.
In January, the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Commission said the loss of Space Command could cost 1,400 jobs and $450 million in economic impact to the area.
Lawmakers have said the decision can be overturned, and Colorado's Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper were working on convincing President Joe Biden to do so.
Following our report, Gov. Jared Polis and Rep. Lamborn issued statements about the new details.
“Today’s statement by former President Trump is an admission that the decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville was based solely on politics and personal preference—not the Air Force’s basing criteria or national security. This proves that claims by the Department of the Air Force that the decision was ‘merit-based’ are completely false. This has been my concern all along, and calls into question the entire selection process. This is why I requested and have backed investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD IG). The final location for U.S. Space Command must make sense strategically and prioritize our national security. I remain confident Colorado Springs is the location that is best for our national defense.”Rep. Doug Lamborn
“Colorado is the natural home for Space Command. These callous comments fly in the face of Coloradans, military families, and those who have worked to cultivate our aerospace ecosystem that is suited to guarantee the operational success of U.S. Space Command and deliver the best value to taxpayers. Keeping U.S. Space Command in Colorado means protecting our national security but it's clear that the former President - now through his own admission - made this misguided decision for political or personal purposes. Unfortunately, this poor decision could cost taxpayers billions of dollars, hurt military readiness, and would be fiscally irresponsible. We urge the federal government to truly restore integrity to the process.”Gov. Jared Polis & Lt. Gov Dianne Primavera