President Trump has refused to confirm if he is foregoing his salary and donating it all to charity, according to NBC News.
During his campaign, the Republican presidential nominee told a crowd during a rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, that if he was elected president, he would say no to a salary, adding that it was not a big deal for him.
“The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected president, I’m accepting no salary, okay? That’s not a big deal for me.”
— Marc R Gagné MAPP ???? (@OttLegalRebels) March 13, 2017
In addition, the 70-year-old president in an interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes in November insisted that he would not take a salary if he won the election.
“I’m not going to take the salary. I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year.”
Aides of the president also reiterated that the billionaire businessman was not going to collect a salary. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed that Trump would either donate his salary to a charity or return it to the Treasury Department.
“He is required to get a paycheck but will be giving it back to the treasury or donating.”
According to the U.S. Constitution, a president is entitled to receive a $400,000 annual salary, payable at the end of every month. Under the auspices of the law, Mr. Trump was due his first paycheck of $33,333 in February and is meant to receive his second paycheck on March 20.
A source speaking to the Daily Mail revealed that MSNBC made overtures to the White House to confirm if the president had donated his salary. According to the source, the approach was rejected. The source said that the chief legal correspondent for the network, Ari Melber, had spoken to the White House’s Office of Personnel Management and the Treasury Department and asked for documents and details to buttress the claim that the president was actually forfeiting his salary as pledged.
The three departments refused to comment if the president’s first salary had been forfeited. The Office of Personnel Management told the network to take up the matter with the White House. Ari Melber queried the exact stance of the Trump administration over the assurances he’d previously made.
“In the potential absence of documentation confirming donation of the first paycheck, what is the Trump administration’s position on the President’s pledge to donate his salary? Has the President’s reversed his decision, or does the President plan to delay donating the salary as he receives it each month? If so, on what date does the President intend to donate his salary?”
— Gloria Gevirtz (Dem) (@GGevirtz) March 13, 2017
If President Trump eventually ends up donating his salary to charity, he would not be the first American president to do so
According to Snopes, President John F. Kennedy donated his entire presidential earnings to charity. The former president, who assumed office in 1961, was the richest man at that time ever to do so. The Kennedy family was wealthy and prestigious with a fortune valued at over $1 billion. At the time he was elected, JFK was living off a $10 million dollar trust fund.
His presidential earnings of $100,000 went to charity. However, the 35th president of the United States retained the $50,000 annual expenses account for public entertainment. Private entertainment was paid from his private coffers. However, a 1962 article published by United Press International claimed that JFK had been donating his salary to charity since his days in Congress. According to the article, all of JFK’s earnings during his 14 years in the House and Senate were forfeited.
Six charities benefited from the JFK’s gesture when he was president. Some of the charities include the United Negro College Fund, the Cuban Families Committee, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. George Washington also turned down the $25,000 fixed for him by Congress; he would later use some of the proceeds to cover travel expenses. Hebert Hoover, another wealthy man before he became an American president, also “banked his presidential salary and gave it entirely to charity.”
A salary donation is not the only pledge made by the 45th president of the United States of America. During the transition, Mr. Trump also revealed a plan to “donate all profits from the foreign governments’ patronage of his hotels and similar businesses.” The blueprint was released by the billionaire’s private law firm, Morgan Lewis. However, there is nothing that has been released to confirm if those donations were actually made.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]