A donation of over $78,000 would seem to be something worth getting excited about but this substantial amount recently given to the U.S. Department of Interior has drawn a lot of criticism. Both the media and the Sierra Club have made their disdain for the contribution well known. The amount it not necessarily the problem. It is the person that handed it over and the reason for the gift that has sparked such disgust.
President Trump made a media spectacle out of handing the check for $78,333.32 over to a representative for the National Parks Service (operated by the Department of the Interior) during a White House daily briefing. This ensured all media outlets were on-hand. The check – something he promised his voters he would never accept anyway, was a drop in the bucket when compared to the $1.5 billion in cuts that the Department of Interior would face under Trump’s proposed budget.
The Sierra Club’s Executive Director, Michael Brune, made his opinion of the “gift” quite clear. He stated, “This publicity stunt is a sad consolation prize as Trump tries to stifle America’s best idea.” The massive cuts the department would experience are approximately 12 percent of the total annual budget for the Parks service. The President’s donation amounts to less than one-half of one percent towards replacing that lost funding.
It was not only the Sierra Club that showed little appreciation for the antics of the President. Reports on the event have called it absurd, insulting and much more. At the press briefing, a reporter for Time Magazine even asked Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, if the donation was a sign of things to come. He wondered aloud if the President would also consider reimbursing taxpayers for his many trips to Mar-a-Lago, dubbed the “Southern White House.” However, President Trump may need a second job in order for his salary to cover this expense since these weekend getaways cost taxpayers approximately $3 million per trip. Spicer’s less-than-enthusiastic response indicates this in unlikely to happen.