President Donald Trump is donating his salary for the first quarter of 2017 to fix up a Civil War battlefield.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced today that $78,333, representing the presidential after-tax income, will go to help restore the Antietam National Battlefield in western Maryland.
The donation representing the president’s 1Q net pay will be used to refurbish the Newcomer House Civil War Information Center on the battlefield (which was a makeshift hospital during the fighting) as well replace 5,000 feet of run-down fencing along the Hagerstown Turnpike where some of the fiercest combat took place.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to donate his entire presidential salary, which amounts to $400,000 annually. By law, the president apparently must accept a paycheck.
An anonymous donor contributed $22,000, which brought the total Antietam donation up to $100,3333. Other donors such as the Civil War Trust, the National Parks Foundation, and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation also contributed approximately $163,000 to the restoration project.
In April, the Trump administration announced that the POTUS paycheck would go to support National Parks Service maintenance generally, and yesterday’s disclosure provided the specifics.
In announcing the Trump salary donation during a ceremony at Antietam, about 70 miles northwest of D.C., former Navy SEAL Zinke offered these comments, the Washington Examiner reported.
“As both the secretary of the interior and a military veteran, I’m deeply honored and humbled to deliver the donation to Antietam National Battlefield on behalf of President Trump. Visiting the hallowed ground the day after Independence Day is incredibly moving and it underscores the importance of why we must preserve these historic grounds. The president’s donation will allow generations of Americans to learn about our history and heritage on this sacred site.”
Approximately 23,000 soldiers died, were wounded, or went missing at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, considered the bloodiest single-day conflict in U.S. history.
The win by the North prevented the Confederates under Robert E. Lee from invading Maryland. “The narrow victory by Union forces at Antietam proved enough to allow President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation from a position of strength,” the Baltimore Sun added.
Secretary Zinke also indicated that $7.2 million in grants from the Department of Interior will go toward preserving 19 historic Revolutionary War, Civil War, and War of 1812 battlefields around the country for future generations.
President Trump worried lawmakers in Congress last month by proposing a 13 percent budget cut in the Interior Department. Indicating that “this is what a balanced budget looks like,” Zinke explained that “the budget is a ‘starting point,’ and that he hoped to increase energy development revenues that could pay for other agency priorities,” TheHill reported.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]