US & Canada

Trump gives part of salary to US parks

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (R) hands a check of funds being donated by US President Donald J. Trump (not pictured) to the National Park Service, to US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (L) and Tyrone Brandyburg (C). Image copyright EPA
Image caption White House Press Secretary says the paycheck covers 20 January until now

US President Donald Trump is donating his first quarterly salary to the National Parks Service, a White House spokesman has said.

Sean Spicer on Monday handed a cheque for $78,333 (£62,786) to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees national parks and monuments.

Mr Trump had previously said he would donate his entire annual salary.

But critics quickly pointed out his donation went to an agency he wants to cut by more than a billion in funding.

Mr Trump's budget proposal calls for a 12% ($1.5bn) cut to the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service.

Mr Zinke said he was "thrilled" by Mr Trump's donation, adding that it would be used for maintenance on the nation's battlefields.

During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump vowed to give up his annual salary of $400,000 if elected.

Last month, Mr Spicer said the president would donate his entire salary at the end of the year, asking members of the media to weigh in on what he did with the cash to "avoid scrutiny".

But Mr Trump's move was still scrutinised on social media, with users noting that his donation would pay for something as little as two hours of security at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago or half a day's worth of security at Trump Tower.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

The environmental group Sierra Club also was quick to respond on Twitter, calling Mr Trump's donation a "distraction that falls far short of the $12 billion needed to address the current backlog of park maintenance".

"America's parks, and the people and economies they support, need real funding, not a giant fake check," the group tweeted.

Meanwhile, some Trump supporters lauded the president's move.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Mr Trump clashed with the National Park Service shortly after he sworn into office.

The agency was temporarily banned from its Twitter account for retweeting images comparing Mr Trump and former President Barack Obama's inaugurations.