On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that President Donald Trump’s first salary donation will be used to help preserve the Civil War battlefield at Antietam.
“The president’s donation will allow generations of Americans to learn about our history and heritage on this sacred site,” Zinke said.
Trump vowed that he would not take a salary when he assumed the office, but he’s required to get a paycheck. So America’s 45th president “will be giving it back to (the) treasury or donating” it, said spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
In April, Trump’s first first-quarter salary donation of $78,333 went to the National Park Service. Zinke’s announcement, made during a tour of the Western Maryland battlefield, clarifies where that salary donation will be used.
“As both the secretary of the interior and a military veteran, I’m deeply honored and humbled to deliver the donation to Antietam National Battlefield on behalf of President Trump,” Zinke said. “Visiting the hallowed ground the day after Independence Day is incredibly moving and it underscores the importance of why we must preserve these historic grounds.”
The president’s $78,333 donation was increased to an even $100,000 when an “anonymous donor” added $22,000 to the donation to round it up, according to the Interior Department. Additional donations from The Civil War Trust, the National Park Foundation, and Save Historic Antietam Foundation makes the total gift amount $263,545.
The money will be used for restoration and repairs, the agency said, as the nation’s historic parks have a $12 billion maintenance backlog.
Zinke said the Interior Department will also receive another $7.2 million in grants which will be used to “identify, preserve and protect” 19 historic battlefield sites, comprising nearly 1,200 acres, as part of the American Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program. The battlefields are considered to be “threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.”
Zinke said the lands should be preserved “for future generations of Americans to remember and understand the impact of sacrifices of those who fought on these hallowed grounds.” He says President Trump’s salary donation will help.
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