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Trump Draws His First-Quarter Salary, Donates It to National Park Service

It's payday for the president, but as promised, President Donald Trump is working for free while he's in office. While it's not legally possible for him to decline his salary, Mr. Trump has vowed to donate it by giving it right back to a government agency.

“I won’t take even one dollar,” Mr. Trump declared in 2015. “I am totally giving up my salary if I become president.”

His first salary has been handed over to the National Park Service, a government agency that has been slammed with massive budget cuts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared at the daily briefing and announced that President Donald trump signed over his first quarter check to Ryan Zinke, who oversees the park service. The check was in the amount of $78,333.32.

“I’m thrilled,” Zinke said of the president's choice to support the parks.

“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, which is preserving our country’s national security,” explained Spicer of the president's decision.

Not everyone thinks that the donation will balance out the Park Service's needs. The service manages and preserves the parks, monuments, and historic properties. The department is already struggling with the budget it had. Their usual annual budget is $3 billion, but according to NPR, there is a $12 million backlog in maintenance. Trump proposed cutting their budget by 12 percent, which in the long run will amount to a $1.5 billion loss in funding.

Now, it has been announced the funds will specifically be used in restoration projects at Antietam National Battlefield.

Trump had initially offered to let reporters pick the recipient of his donation, but made no mention of that as pay day drew near for him. It's unclear why he specifically chose the parks department, and some suspect it could be to soothe ruffled feathers. After his inauguration, a park service employee used the department's twitter account to repost an article about the size of Trump's crowd.

Trump has been very touchy about the size of the crowds that came to watch him be sworn into office, particularly when they're compared to that of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. Trump lashed out at the acting director of the park service at the time to defend the size of his inauguration crowds.

“Why is the National Park Service tweeting out comparison photos? That was the bigger issue there?” said a White House spokeswoman in defense of President Trump’s outrage.

Trump isn't the first president who refused to accept pay for the job. John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover, who were also very wealthy, opted to put the money they earned back into the American government. Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are also waving their salaries. Considering the family's worth is in excess of $700 million, the highest paid White House aide salaries of $190,000 would be barely a drop in the bucket for them.

Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post
Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore, YouTube

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