Donald Trump's salary donation to National Park Service will not cover agency's $1.5bn budget cut

Mr Trump has already mandated a 12% funding cut for the agency

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The Independent US

President Donald Trump will donate his first quarterly salary to the National Park Service, which will not cover the billion-dollar cut he imposed on the same department.

In a move announced by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Mr Trump will give a cheque for $78,333 to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who looks after national parks and monuments. 

Mr Trump has also already announced cuts of $1.5 billion to the Interior Service, a 12 per cent funding loss.

"The Park Service has cared for our parks since 1916, and 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," said Mr Spicer.

Mr Zinke said he was “thrilled” to receive the money, adding that it would be used to maintain battlefields.

"We're about $100 [million] or $229 million behind in deferred maintenance on our battlefields alone, and that's on our 25 national battlefields," he said. "And we're excited about that opportunity."

As he outlined in his speech to reporters, he has extended a leasing programme for coal-powered plants and has increased access to "traditional hunting". 

The President said previously he would give up his entire salary of $400,000. Mr Spicer told reporters Mr Trump would do this at the end of the year.

Social media users were less than impressed with Mr Trump’s donation, which, they argued, would not even cover several hours of security costs at his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate.

His weekend trips on the private jet to Florida every weekend are estimated to cost the taxpayer around $3 million each.

Environmental group Sierra Club claimed the cheque was a “distraction that falls far short of the $12 billion needed to address the current backlog of park maintenance”.

The President’s relationship with the National Park Service has been contentious.

Shortly after he stepped into office he imposed a social media black-out on the agency after it posted pictures comparing crowd sizes of Mr Trump’s Inauguration versus former President Barack Obama’s in 2009.

In retaliation, "alternative" National Park Service Twitter accounts sprang up online, tweeting facts about climate change and gaining hundreds of thousands of followers.