Trump Donates $78K To Parks And Cuts $1.5 Billion From Them


President Trump is nothing if not the master of the empty gesture. It’s a type of misdirection that has become so characteristic of his presidency; promises he cannot possibly fulfill, accusations he could never hope to substantiate, blatant acts of hypocrisy for which he expects praise.

Last week, he continued his absent tradition by donating his first quarterly salary to the National Parks Service, specifically to fund the preservation of battlefields.

In a schlocky, tone-deaf, presentation befitting a bizarre reality TV pilot, press secretary Sean Spicer presented a novelty check made out in the amount of $78, 333.32 to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and parks superintendent Tyrone Brandyberg, both of whom could not have looked more non-plussed about being used as props in this grotesque political theatre.

Mr. Zinke said they were “thrilled” to accept the money to continue to care for battlefields, and with what I hope was a tongue firmly in his cheek, said, “We're about $100 [million] or $229 million behind in deferred maintenance on our battlefields alone.”

The insignificance of this drop in the bucket cannot be overstated, as the President’s new budget plans to slash funding for the National Parks Services by 12%, or the equivalent of around $1.5 billion in funding. His donated salary represents less than 1% of the cost for the battlefield projects alone. I’m going to take a page from the book of Sean Spicer here and use visual aids to explain the contrast. Here, look at the two numbers next to each other:



Not as effective as I’d hoped. Here’s a circle graph to belabor the point.


How Secretary Spicer can stand in front of the nation, with a straight face, and celebrate President Trump’s commitment to a promise to donate his salary is beyond me. Is there no shame left in Washington?

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