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Trump Salary Donation Raises Questions

The White House announced Monday that President Trump would be donating his first-quarter salary to the Department of the Interior, which stands to lose $1.6 billion under his budget proposal.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump would be donating $78,333 to the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. Trump had said during his campaign that he would donate his presidential salary to charity, saying “That’s no big deal for me” on the trail in 2015.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was on hand to accept a check, stating that the money would go to “infrastructure on our nation’s battlefields,” which he said were $229 million behind in deferred maintenance.

However, under the White House budget proposal — a wish list from the executive branch to Congress for 2018 government spending — Zinke’s department would receive a 12 percent cut, or about $1.6 billion. It would take 20,426 donations of $78,333 to cover that funding reduction.

“I looked at the budget. I’m not happy, but we’re going to fight about it, and I think I’m going to win at the end of the day,” said Zinke following his confirmation.

Spicer laid out the White House’s thinking about the donation to a government entity versus a private nonprofit.

“He believed,” said Spicer, “that as Secretary Zinke pointed out, that there was some great work being done there especially needed to restore our federal battlegrounds and wanted to do his part.”

Of the remaining $11.6 billion budgeted to Zinke’s department, a larger amount would go to speed up mining and drilling on public lands and offshore. From the White House’s budget proposal:

Strengthens the Nation’s energy security by increasing funding for DOI programs that support environmentally responsible development of energy on public lands and offshore waters. Combined with administrative reforms already in progress, this would allow DOI to streamline permitting processes and provide industry with access to the energy resources America needs, while ensuring taxpayers receive a fair return from the development of these public resources.

The budget proposal would also eliminate funding to National Heritage Sites, which are — per the National Park Service — “designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.”

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