WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump intends to fulfill a campaign promise and donate his annual salary, and he wants the press corps’ help in identifying a worthy cause, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.
During a briefing, a reporter asked if the president had donated his paycheck from February.
“The president’s intention right now is to donate his salary at the end of the year, and he has kindly asked that you all help determine where that goes,” Spicer answered.
“The way that we can avoid scrutiny is let the press corp determine where it goes,” Spicer added, to laughter from the seated reporters.
“In all seriousness, his view is he made a pledge to the American people,” Spicer said. “He wants to donate it to charity and he would love your help to determine where it should go.”
The question came after MSNBC reported the White House had not offered proof that the president had donated any of his earnings in advance of his second payday.
Though federal law mandates the president receive a $400,000 annual salary parceled out monthly, Trump said in November that he was “not going to take the salary.”
Trump’s request through Spicer that reporters help choose where the money goes comes despite the president’s well-publicized antipathy toward many of the nation’s leading media organizations.
Last month, the commander in chief took to Twitter to blast what he calls the “fake news media,” including The New York Times, NBC and CNN, as the “enemy of the American people.”
Members of the media already have ideas for where the money should go.
One reporter in the briefing called out, “Perhaps the White House Correspondents’ Association journalism scholarship?”
“That would be a great way to do it,” Spicer replied.
Meanwhile, other journalists took to Twitter to voice their proposals, listing — among other organizations — journalism nonprofits like the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and ProPublica.