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Donald Trump donates part of salary to National Park Service

Some have branded the move a stunt as the US President has proposed budget cutbacks to the service.

THE WHITE HOUSE has announced that President Donald Trump will donate part of his salary to the US National Park Service, going some way towards meeting a campaign promise.

Spokesman Sean Spicer announced Trump had decided to donate his salary for the first quarter of 2017 to the government agency that manages parks, monuments and other conservation properties.

“It is my pleasure, on behalf of the president of the United States, to present a check for $78,333 (about €67,300) to the secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke,” he said.

On the campaign trail, Trump had vowed to donate his taxpayer-funded $400,000 (about €375,000) annual salary to charity if elected. The National Park Service is not a charity, but it is the first sign Trump will hand over the cash.

Budget cutbacks 

The gift may be a peace offering of sorts. Trump has tangled with the agency over its tweets, which unfavourably compared the size of his inauguration crowd with that of Barack Obama’s.

The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, whose budget Trump has proposed cutting by more than $1 billion (about €937 million).

The Sierra Club, an environmental group, called Trump’s donation a “stunt”.

“If Donald Trump is actually interested in helping our parks, he should stop trying to slash their budgets to historically low levels,” it said.

The White House announcement came after investigative reporters at ProPublica reported Trump amended his trust — created to curb conflicts of interest — to make it possible to withdraw cash whenever needed.

© AFP 2017

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