Those who had doubted Donald Trump’s campaign trail promise to donate his presidential salary are in for quite the shock. On Monday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer announced that President Trump would be donating “every penny” of his salary to the National Parks Service, USA Today reports. Spicer made the announcement with a pomp and flourish that Trump would appreciate, presenting a giant check to Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, and the superintendent of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Tyrone Brandyburg. The amount on the Trump-signed check is $78,333.32, which is the exact sum he has been paid since taking office on January 20.
The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located in West Virginia and is home to hiking trails, historic trades workshops, and presentations about the park’s cultural and natural resources, according to its website. Both Brandyburg and Interior Secretary Zinke accepted the check graciously, with Zinke remarking, “I am thrilled at the president’s decision to donate the check.” He stated that the money would be used to rebuild infrastructure on America’s battlefields, adding, “We’re about $100 million or $229 million behind in deferred maintenance on our battlefields alone,” according to USA Today. The National Parks Service was established in 1916 and aims to safeguard America’s national parks and preserve local history, according to its website.
Zinke’s plan is in line with President Trump’s stated intention to invest more money in deferred maintenance projects and to spend less federal dollars on major land acquisitions, reports USA Today. This plan includes a proposed budget cut of 11.7 percent to the Department of Interior, which encompasses the National Parks Service. According to NBC News, Donald Trump faced criticism from Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, who called the donation a “sad consolation prize” in light of the proposed budget cuts, which may affect the parks.
Many of Donald Trump’s critics have also been vocal about Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and prove that he had donated to charity, alleging that this means that he is lying about his donations, notes USA Today. However, when one looks at the president’s history, it is clear that he has been quite generous long before he ever sought public office, going above and beyond customary philanthropy to personally touch the lives of those in need.
According to the Independent Journal Review, Donald Trump showed his caring and generosity on several occasions. In 1986, Trump helped a woman keep her family farm, which was set to be foreclosed. Annabell Hill’s husband had committed suicide in hopes that his life insurance policy would be enough to pay the balance that the family still owed to the bank. However, the money was insufficient. The New York Times reports that after Donald Trump heard about Hill’s story on the news, he promptly called the auction block, stopped the foreclosure, and offered $20,000 to the Georgia woman so that some of her family’s land could be retained. Another example of Donald Trump’s generosity was his decision to send $25,000 to Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi after he returned from a Mexican prison, where he was severely beaten and chained to a bed.
A more well-known story is Donald Trump’s decision to donate the services of his private jet to fly an ill boy to New York to receive medical treatment. Three-year-old Andrew Ten was barred from boarding the planes of major airlines because of the myriad pieces of medical equipment required by Ten to endure the flight, according to the Independent Journal Review. Donald Trump provided a free service to an individual in need yet again when he let Jennifer Hudson stay at Trump Tower free of charge after three of her family members were killed in Chicago. Trump also provided security services to the Grammy Award winning singer. Another seemingly random act of kindness occurred after Donald Trump heard about the courageous story of Darnell Barton, a bus driver who saved a suicidal woman from jumping off a bridge. Trump sent the man $10,000, saying the following.
“I thought that was so beautiful to see. I think he is a great guy with an amazing heart and I said that man should be rewarded.”
Monday’s gesture is a first step towards making good on Trump’s campaign promise to donate his presidential salary. USA Today confirms that he plans to donate the rest of his annual $400,000 earnings. However, this is not just about keeping his word. Donald Trump’s National Parks Service donation is just the latest instance of the generosity that he has displayed his entire life.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]