On Monday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president would donate his salary at the end of the year “and he’s asked that you all determine where it goes.”
“The president’s intention is to donate his salary at the end of the year. He kindly asked that you all help determine where that goes,” Spicer said. “The way that we can avoid scrutiny is let the press corps determine where it should go.” Trump came under fire during the 2016 presidential campaign after revelations came to light that he appeared to have given relatively little to charity over the course of his career.
Trump declared that he would refuse his $400,000 yearly salary as president back in November, 2016. During his first television interview as president-elect on Trump told 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl that he wouldn’t take a salary as president. “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.” Stahl reminded the president-elect, “[That’s] $400,000 you’re giving up.”
Again, Trump answered, “No, I’m not gonna take the salary. I’m not taking it.”
White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Politifact last month that Trump
will be giving his salary “back to treasury or donating.” Several other businessmen and celebrities who later entered politics — including Michael Bloomberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mitt Romney — accepted $1 salaries during their time in office.
There is no precedent for a President accepting a salary of a dollar, but two other wealthy men who entered the Oval Office — Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy — both donated their salaries to charity.
Former President Barack Obama claimed to take a small pay cut to demonstrate his solidarity with furloughed public employees in 2013. Trump’s refusal to take a salary is
in line with his populist appeal. For a man came into into office as a billionaire, the acceptance or refusal of public payment is not likely to be the source of corruption.