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Donald Trump Cuts $78,000 Check to National Park Service

On Monday, President Donald Trump made a surprising announcement. He donated his first-quarter presidential paycheck of $78,000 to the National Park Service.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivered the check to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a press conference in Washington.

“The President is personally proud to contribute the first quarter of his salary to the important mission of the park service, which is preserving our country’s national security,” Spicer said.

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Zinke told reporters that the funds would go toward restoring 25 American battlegrounds, which he said were “about $100 [million] or $229 million behind in deferred maintenance.”

Overall, the National Park Service has an estimated $12 billion in overdue maintenance at its more than 400 sites across the country. But the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 fiscal year budget included a 12% cut, or roughly $1.5 billion, in funding for the Department of the Interior, in order to make room for increased military spending.

The Trump administration and the National Park Service did not get off to the most amicable of starts.

The incoming president feuded with staff at the National Mall over inauguration crowd photos that showed a lackluster turnout in comparison with 2008. His administration was blasted by the Badlands and Death Valley National Park Service Twitter accounts over climate change and immigration policies, respectively. And Trump’s proposed congressional budget included a 12% cut to the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service.

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The news of Trump’s donation was not met with wholehearted praise, as many commentators dismissed the gift as window dressing.

Others were excited about the donation:

Whether the Trump administration has turned over a new leaf with the National Park Service remains to be seen, but the need to protect the nation’s federal lands nonetheless remains a critical issue.