President Trump on Monday donated his salary for the first three months of the year to the National Park Service, a move quickly ridiculed as a publicity stunt by some groups.
The donation, of $78,333, pales in comparison to the estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog facing the National Park System, and comes in the wake of a $1.5 billion budget cut the president is proposing for the Interior Department, which oversees the national parks.
“If Donald Trump is actually interested in helping our parks, he should stop trying to slash their budgets to historically low levels. This publicity stunt is a sad consolation prize as Trump tries to stifle America’s best idea," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
"It's a distraction that falls far short of the $12 billion needed to address the current backlog of park maintenance and does nothing to offset the almost $2 billion Trump asked Congress to cut from the Department of the Interior in his budget. America’s parks, and the people and economies they support, need real funding, not a giant fake check. Parks are a good investment and we must invest now if we want them to be around for our kids.”
At the Center for Western Priorities, Deputy Director Greg Zimmerman said, "President Trump and Secretary (Ryan) Zinke should be embarrassed by today’s publicity stunt. You can’t propose $1.6 billion in cuts to our public lands, then pretend a $78,000 donation makes it better. The White House needs to protect America’s parks and public lands, not pay lip service to them."
Interior Secretary Zinke said the $78,333 would go to maintaining historic battlefield properties in the National Park System. The Interior secretary's tweet of the donation included a note stating that after the president made his donation, an anonymous donor contributed $22,000 to the National Park Foundation.