The press secretary hands over a $78,333 check to the interior secretary and the superintendent of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
President Donald Trump is donating his salary from his first quarter in the White House to the National Park Service, press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday.
At the start of the daily White House press briefing, Spicer handed a check for $78,333.32 to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Tyrone Brandyburg, the superintendent of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia. Spicer said it was Trump’s full salary from his inauguration to March 31, the end of the first quarter.
“The Park Service has cared for our parks since 1916, and the president is personally proud to contribute the first quarter of his salary to the important mission of the Park Service,” Spicer said.
Trump promised during the campaign to give away his full-year presidential salary of $400,000 if he was elected president. But he ran into trouble with other donation pledges. In January 2016, Trump promised to donate money raised at a veterans event, but it took the campaign months to actually hand out the money under prodding from the media, particularly The Washington Post.
Last month, Spicer said Trump would donate his salary at the end of the year and said the administration wanted reporters to decide where the money would go.
On Monday, Spicer said the White House counsel’s office gave Trump a list of government organizations to which he could donate his salary.
Zinke said he was “thrilled” by the choice of his department, and he said the money would go toward infrastructure on the country’s 25 national battlefields. He said the department has deferred $229 million in maintenance spending on the battlefields.
The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation policy organization, quickly criticized the donation as a “publicity stunt” in light of budget cuts the president has proposed for the Department of the Interior.
“You can’t propose $1.6 billion in cuts to our public lands, then pretend a $78,000 donation makes it better,” said Greg Zimmerman, the center’s deputy director. “The White House needs to protect America’s parks and public lands, not pay lip service to them.”