President Donald Trump will be donating his first quarter salary to restoring a Civil War national park.
The White House announced in April that Trump would be donating his first quarter salary to the National Park Service, as reported by The New York Times.
On July 5, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the donation would be going specifically to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland, reports the Associated Press.
The Battle of Antietam occurred on Sept. 17, 1862, leaving 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing.
Trump's contribution is in the amount of $78,333, which will go toward restoring the Newcomer House on the Antietam Battlefield, and to replacing 5,000 feet of deteriorated rail fencing along the Hagerstown Turnpike, where some of the most intense fighting of the battle occurred, The Associated Press reports.
Zinke also said 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, notes The Inquisitr.
"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," Zinke said at the official donation announcement ceremony held at Antietam. "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."
However, as Nick Visser of The Huffington Post notes, the donation is filled with irony, considering that Trump's proposed federal budget slashes some $1.5 billion from the National Park Service, which oversees Antietam and other protected battlefields like it.
"If enacted, this budget would represent the largest cut to the National Park Service since World War II," Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in May.
According to Visser's calculation, if Trump donated his entire annual salary of $400,000 to national parks, it would take about 3,750 years to make up for the amount that he intends to cut. That's the equivalent of 22,000 quarterly paychecks, adds Jeffrey St. Clair, editor of the Counterpunch website.
When the salary donation was first announced in April, it was roundly criticized by conservation groups. "If Donald Trump is actually interested in helping our parks, he should stop trying to slash their budgets to historically low levels," the Sierra Club said in April. "This publicity stunt is a sad consolation prize as Trump tries to stifle America’s best idea."
Sources: The New York Times, Ap via The Washington Post, The Inquisitr, The Huffington Post, Counterpunch / Photo credit: Pixabay, U.S. Department of Interior, United States Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons