Trump do­nates first salary check to Na­tional Park Ser­vice

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY S.A. MILLER

Pres­i­dent Trump made good Mon­day on his prom­ise not to ac­cept his $400,000 pres­i­den­tial salary, hand­ing over his first three months of pay to the Na­tional Park Ser­vice — but the gen­er­ous ges­ture couldn’t es­cape the scoff­ing of crit­ics.

Mr. Trump gave the $78,333 check, the amount cut by the Trea­sury for the pay pe­riod that be­gan with the Jan. 20 in­au­gu­ra­tion, to In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke.

“We’re go­ing to ded­i­cate it and put against the in­fra­struc­ture on our na­tion’s bat­tle­fields,” said Mr. Zinke. “We’re ex­cited about that op­por­tu­nity.”

He noted that the 25 na­tional bat­tle­field were more than $100 mil­lion be­hind in main­te­nance.

At the daily press brief­ing, White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer praised the Park Ser­vice for its 100 years of ser­vice and said Mr. Trump was “per­son­ally proud” to help its mis­sion.

Sierra Club Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Michael Brune said the pay­check was a drop in the ocean when Mr. Trump pro­posed slash­ing 12 per­cent of the bud­get for the Depart­ment of In­te­rior.

“If Don­ald Trump is ac­tu­ally in­ter­ested in help­ing our parks, he should stop try­ing to slash their bud­gets to his­tor­i­cally low lev­els,” Mr. Brune said in a state­ment.

“This pub­lic­ity stunt is a sad con­so­la­tion prize as Trump tries to sti­fle Amer­ica’s best idea. It’s a dis­trac­tion that falls far short of the $12 bil­lion needed to ad­dress the cur­rent back­log of park main­te­nance and does noth­ing to off­set the al­most $2 bil­lion Trump asked Congress to cut from the Depart­ment of the In­te­rior in his bud­get,” he said.

Mr. Trump also came un­der fire at the press brief­ing for the ex­pense of fre­quent trips to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has spent most week­ends since tak­ing of­fice and where he will host Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping this week.

The trips to the club, which Mr. Trump has dubbed the “South­ern White House,” have cost tax­pay­ers an es­ti­mated $10 mil­lion to date for se­cu­rity and travel aboard Air Force One.

Mr. Spicer told re­porters that is was “ironic” that the ex­pense of go­ing to Mar-a-Lago was brought up on a day when Mr. Trump put more than $78,000 back into the gov­ern­ment cof­fers.

“The pres­i­dent just do­nated a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money of his salary back to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. And so, you know, re­spect­fully, at what point does he do enough? He just gave a very siz­able do­na­tion,” he said.

Mr. Spicer bris­tled at a re­porter say­ing the do­na­tion was a “small amount.”

“I think to be able to say that — I mean, he isn’t tak­ing a salary. I think he’s stepped down from his busi­ness. He’s walked away from a lot,” said Mr. Spicer. “I think at some point, you know, he’s done quite a lot, quite a bit in terms of mak­ing a do­na­tion to gov­ern­ment.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer presents a check for Pres­i­dent Trump’s first quar­ter salary to In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Ryan Zinke (left) and Harpers Ferry Na­tional His­toric Park Su­per­in­ten­dent Ty­rone Brandy­burg on Mon­day.

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