U.S. President Donald Trump has followed up on one of his campaign promises and donated his salary for the first quarter of the year to the National Park Service.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday presented Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with a check for $78,333,32, during a press briefing at the White House.
A billionaire businessman turned president, Trump had promised to forgo his presidential salary. By law he must be paid, so he is donating the money. U.S. taxpayers can write off such donations, potentially lowering their income taxes.
The gift may be a peace offering of sorts. Trump has tangled with the parks agency over its tweets, which unfavorably compared the size of his inauguration crowd with that of Barack Obama’s.
The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, whose budget Trump has proposed cutting by more than $1 billion.
The charitable action did not appease the critics of Trump’s environmental policies. The Sierra Club environmental group called it a “stunt.”
“If Donald Trump is actually interested in helping our parks, he should stop trying to slash their budgets to historically low levels,” it said.
But Zinke said he’s “thrilled” at the president’s decision to give money to an Interior agency. He said he will use the money to help pay for long-deferred maintenance projects on the nation’s 25 battlefields. Outstanding maintenance projects on those sites amount to about $229 million.