President Donald Trump donated $100,000 — equivalent to his salary as president for the second quarter of 2019 — to the office of the Surgeon General to fund unspecified upcoming public health advisories.
As promised, Trump has not kept any of the $400,000 a year he has earned as president. He has donated it all back to federal agencies.
A statement from the White House suggested that the nation’s opioid epidemic and the dangers of e-cigarette usage among teenagers might be a target for the advisories.
Last week’s payment is the third time Trump has given his earnings to parts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USA Today reported last week. Other recipients have been the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Veteran’s Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The donation needs some perspective.
• Trump is a billionaire a couple of times over. The exact amount of his wealth has been a subject of much debate, but he’s almost certainly the richest president in U.S. history. Rich enough that he can live comfortably without another $400,000 a year. Rich enough that philanthropic comparisons to other politicians and presidents are meaningless.
• It should also be pointed out that the president has refused to release his taxes, which has made it impossible to gauge how his own policies — especially the Trump tax cut — have increased his wealth while he has been in the White House.
• Also, we have no doubt that Trump donates the money, in part, for the political points that it earns him. We find that most of what most politicians do is done for the same reasons.
All that said, we refuse to be cynical about Trump’s act of public-spirited philanthropy.
The president’s donations are a patriotic and generous act and deserving of public thanks.
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