Today President Trump announced his plans to donate the first installment of his salary to the National Parks Service. If you look at this on the surface level it looks like a great and generous thing for Trump to do. If you look a little closer though, you will see that Trumps budget proposal is calling for $1.5 billion in cuts to the Department of the Interior which actually operates the National Park Service, cuts which will constitute about 12% of the department’s total budget.
The Sierra Club is offended by not only the amount but also the tactless way Trump went about announcing to the world the news of the donation. No time was wasted on their behalf chastising President Trump for what is ultimately an insult and an empty gesture.
Michael Brune, the environmental group’s Executive Director, said in a statement.
‘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.’
The “publicity stunt” being referred to by Brune occurred at the White House daily press briefing. Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a huge hoopla of handing the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke the cheque, totalling $78,333.32.
The donation is about one quarter of his annual presidential salary, equating to only about .005% of the amount that he cut from the budget of the Interior Department’s budget. The cuts will cause a serious blow to the National Parks Service, which currently has “$12 billion needed to address the current backlog of park maintenance,” according to Brune.
The president’s budget increases funding for programs that “support environmentally responsible development of energy on public lands and offshore waters.” The budget will allow the agency to streamline the process and provide private industry access to untapped U.S resources.
Many environmental activists are highly unnerved by Trump’s focus on oil, gas, and coal development on federal lands. Trump campaigned on opening federal land to oil drilling; he believes as well that the federal government needs to enter into linked governance with the state governments in order to ensure federally controlled lands get regulated on a more frequent basis.
The large cost of Melania and Barron living outside the White House in New York City is a huge source of anger among those who are outraged about the “generous donation.” Before his he was inaugurated, the cost of Trump’s family living in New York was estimated to be 1 million dollars per day for his and his family’s separate security protection. The NYPD later released a revised amount, revealing that in a recent month it had cost the 24 million to pay for security for President Trump and his family at their separate homes over a two and a half month period between the election and the inauguration.
With the outrageous costs going into Trumps personal life, not only Melania and Barron living in New York, and Trump’s lavish golf trips; it’s not a big surprise that the National Parks Service saw this donation as a slap in the face.
Feature Image Via Getty Images