The environmental group Sierra Club attacked President Trump's decision Monday to send his first-quarter salary to the National Park Service as "a distraction" and "sad consolation prize" based on his planned budget cuts for the agency.
"If Donald Trump is actually interested in helping our parks, he should stop trying to slash their budgets to historically low levels," said Michael Brune, the group's executive director.
The White House made the announcement with Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke Monday. The $78,333.32 check marks the beginning of the billionaire's pledge not to take the money he is paid as president. At the same time, he has proposed to cut $54 billion from agencies to support a strong defense and national security agenda.
"This publicity stunt is a sad consolation prize as Trump tries to stifle America's best idea," Brune added. "It's a distraction that falls far short of the $12 billion needed to address the current backlog of park maintenance and does nothing to offset the almost $2 billion Trump asked Congress to cut from the Department of the Interior in his budget."
Brune said the president's gesture amounted to "a giant fake check," not real money to offset the problems facing the nation's parks.
The Sierra Club also kicked off a campaign to counter Trump's Energy Independence Executive Order, which targeted the Environmental Protection Agency's climate rules for repeal, while curbing many of former President Barack Obama's environmental executive actions.