Very early in his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump pledged that he would not be accepting any of his Presidential salary in his first term, and to date he has largely kept that promise. He donates each quarterly paycheck to a different cause. So far, those causes have included the National Park Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Small Business Administration, the office of the Surgeon General, and several more, mostly earmarked for specific programs like a STEM camp for children and caregiver programs for disabled veterans.
In the growing panic of COVID-19, the President and his office have made the decision to donate his 2019 fourth quarter salary to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to support research and containment of the disease.
The $100,000 donation (as yet unconfirmed) won’t go far, but it is a note-worthy gesture, coming only days after the President spoke on TV calling concern about the virus a hoax targeted to undercut his re-election. Since that speech, American deaths from the virus have gone from zero to seven, and world-wide deaths have crossed 3000.
Donating the Presidential salary has become a small tradition for presidents who came from wealth. President Trump follows in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover. Kennedy, coming from a billionaire family with a $10 million trust fund of his own, donated the wages of his office to many charities, mostly to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the United Negro College Fund, and the Cuban Families Committee. Hoover, a multimillionaire in his own right, gave away his salary to many causes, most of them anonymously.
The President was scheduled to visit the CDC and the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday, March 3rd according to the White House, but details of those visits, if they occurred, have not been made public.
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