DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — During Monday’s White House briefing, it was announced that President Donald Trump had donated the first three months of his salary to the National Park Service.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer handed a check for $78,333.32 to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg during the briefing.
By law the president must be paid; however, Trump had vowed during his campaign to forgo his presidential salary, a promise he repeated after his victory in November. At Monday’s briefing, Spicer said the check represented the total of Trump’s salary since taking office Jan. 20 until the present.
Zinke said he’s “thrilled” at the president’s decision to give money to an Interior agency, something he said Trump informed him about Sunday night.
Zinke said he will use the money to help on long-deferred maintenance projects on the nation’s 25 battlefields, which include national battlefields, national battlefield parks, national military parks and national battlefield sites. Among these, Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, where the bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place, saw over 1 million visits in 2016.
Outstanding maintenance projects on those sites amount to about $229 million, Zinke said.
“These historic places tell the story of conflicts that helped shape our country’s history,” Zinke said, “and they also honor the many men and women who have given their lives in service of this great nation. I’m honored to help the president carry out his love and appreciation for our warriors and land.”
Despite the donation, critics of Trump have pointed to the fact that the president proposed cutting 12 percent from the Interior Department in his March 16 budget blueprint.
Associated Press reporter JULIE BYCOWICZ contributed to this report.
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