President Donald Trump has been drawing a salary — despite pledging not to during the campaign and after the election — but plans to donate the money to charity, according to press secretary Sean Spicer.
With almost two months of service as president of the United States under his belt, Donald Trump has earned over $50,000 in salary. Spicer says that money will be given away by the end of 2017.
Asked at Monday’s press briefing about Trump’s previous claims that he wouldn’t keep his salary, Spicer said that the president’s “intention right now is to donate his salary at the end of the year.” He went on to say that Trump wanted the White House press corps to “help determine where that goes.”
“The way we all can avoid scrutiny is to let the press corps determine where it should go,” said Spicer. “In all seriousness… he made a pledge to the American people, he wants to donate it to charity and he’d love your help to determine where it should go.”
The president’s salary, which is paid out monthly, has been $400,000 per year since 2001.
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Spicer offered no indication Monday that Trump was forgoing payment, despite Trump’s disinterest in receiving compensation which spans back at least 18 months.
During a video question and answer session with Twitter users in September 2015, Trump responded to an inquiry asking whether he would take a salary.
“As far as the salary is concerned, I won’t take even one dollar,” said Trump. “I am totally giving up my salary if I become president.”
Later that same week at a campaign speech in Oklahoma, Trump said, “I’ll be working for our country free, I don’t want any salary. I’ve already said, I turned down my salary. I don’t even know what the hell the salary is, but I don’t want the salary.”
Then, after winning the election in November, he repeated the stance during an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
“Well, I’ve never commented on this, but the answer is no,” Trump said. “I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year. But it’s a — I don’t even know what it is.”
“No, I’m not gonna take the salary. I’m not taking it,” he added.
Trump was correct in stating that U.S. law requires he receive payment. The U.S. Constitution states, in Article 2, Section 1 that “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
Upon Spicer’s remark that Trump wished for the press corps to select the recipient of his donation, one reporter suggested their own “[White House] Correspondent’s Association” to support “journalism scholarships.”