President Trump donates salary to National Park Service

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, and Harpers Ferry National Historic Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg, hold up a check from President Trump's three-month salary. (Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump is donating the first three months of his salary to the National Park Service.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer handed an oversized check for $78,333.32 to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during Monday's briefing.

The billionaire businessman turned president had promised to forgo his presidential salary. By law he must be paid, so he is donating the money. Taxpayers can write off such donations, potentially lowering their income taxes.

Zinke said he's "thrilled" at the president's decision to give money to an Interior agency, something he says Trump informed him about Sunday night. He said he will use the money to help on long-deferred maintenance projects on the nation's 25 battlefields. Outstanding maintenance projects on those sites amount to about $229 million, Zinke said.

"President Trump is dedicated to our veterans, our public lands, and keeping his promises, and by donating his salary to the National Park Service to repair our historic battlefields proves his commitment," Zinke said. "These historic places tell the story of conflicts that helped shape our country's history, and they also honor the many men and women who have given their lives in service of this great nation. I'm honored to help the president carry out his love and appreciation for our warriors and land."

There are 25 sites across the National Park Service that are classified as National Battlefields, National Battlefield Parks, National Military Parks and National Battlefield Sites.

"The National Park Service is proud and deeply honored by President Trump's donation to support the preservation of battlefields in the National Park System," said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. "Philanthropy has been essential to the National Park Service's mission since its establishment, and this notable contribution will enable the National Park Service to share these remarkable places with more visitors for generations to come."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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