Trump Donates First-Quarter Salary to National Park Service


Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, and Tyrone Brandyburg, the superintendent at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, holding President Trump’s check. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
President Trump, who promised to work for free, donated his salary for the first quarter of the year on Monday to the National Park Service, which, like other government agencies, faces major cuts in the president’s first budget proposal.

At the daily White House briefing, Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary, presented a check signed by Mr. Trump for $78,333.32 to Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, who oversees the park service. “I’m thrilled,” Mr. Zinke said.

Presidents are paid $400,000 a year, not counting benefits that come with the job, including housing in a fairly spacious residence. But Mr. Trump, perhaps the wealthiest person ever to hold the presidency, made a point during the campaign of saying he did not need taxpayers to compensate him. His daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who together are worth as much as $740 million, are working on his staff without taking salaries.

The White House had previously said that Mr. Trump would donate his salary to charity at the end of the year and suggested he would even allow reporters to decide the beneficiary. “He kindly asked that you all help determine where that goes,” Mr. Spicer said last month. “The way that we can avoid scrutiny is let the press corps determine where it should go.”

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Mr. Spicer did not explain on Monday why the plan had changed, but said the White House Counsel’s Office presented a series of alternatives to the president and he chose the National Park Service.

“The park service has cared for our parks since 1916, and the president is personally proud to contribute the first quarter of his salary to the important mission of the park service, which is preserving our country’s national security,” Mr. Spicer said.

But in picking a government agency, Mr. Trump chose one with a large backlog of deferred maintenance that could be deferred even longer under his budget. Mr. Trump proposed a cut of $1.5 billion, or 12 percent, from the Interior Department, which oversees the park service and other agencies. The proposal did not specify how much of that would come out of the park service budget.

He also chose an agency with which he has had a fraught relationship. Mr. Trump was angry when a park service employee using an agency Twitter account reposted information comparing the size of his Inauguration Day crowd unfavorably with that of former President Barack Obama in 2009. Mr. Trump was livid and called the acting director of the park service the day after his inauguration to complain about the post and to ask for further photographic evidence about the size of his crowd.

Mr. Trump made his no-salary pledge a regular talking point on the campaign trail, pointing to his personal wealth as a way of demonstrating his independence. “I won’t take even one dollar,” Mr. Trump declared in 2015. “I am totally giving up my salary if I become president.”

The trick, according to the Constitution, was that he could not refuse his pay. So he opted to donate the salary instead, much as John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover did.

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Food service workers begin to secretly unionize and it’s kinda amazing

By Walter Einenkel
Monday Apr 03, 2017 · 5:08 PM EST

What? No, it’s just loud here, there’s nothing happening.
Indianapolis’s Indy Star has a pretty great story about food service workers unionizing in secret. Profiling a handful of food service workers under food service industry giants like Aramark, the article explores the motivations and need for unions as our country’s workforce becomes more and more dominated by the service industry. Whether it’s a cashier’s desire to receive access to employer-based health insurance or a custodian who wants to feel more respected as she works long hours providing much-needed work that others can easily take for granted, unions are growing in the one industry that continues to truly grow in our country—services.

The Unite Here union, established in 2004 and affiliated with the AFL-CIO, represents more than 270,000 hospitality, food service, gaming and airline catering workers in the United States and Canada

While Unite Here Local 23 didn’t sign on its first member in Indianapolis until 2010, it now has union members under Aramark contracts for Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Marion University, Butler University and Warren and Pike Township schools.
The battle being fought in states like Indiana are less about forming unions and more about being able to defend organizations from “right to work” laws. Indiana became a RTW state back in 2012 and things have gone so well there since that people like vice president and sketchiest-dude-to-to-have-dinner-with Mike Pence and Donald Trump have been able to garner votes because of desperation on the part of the labor force. As a result, the new unionizing efforts are more secretive, like Victor Laszlo avoiding street lamps on the streets of Casablanca to meet with the French Resistance.

The political environment has made organizing drives far more secretive than they used to be, experts say.

“There is a lot of fear in the workplace whether justified or not justified,” Mora said, as most service workers are low-income women who are vulnerable to poor treatment at work. “The place to have that honest conversation with folks about what they want out of their job is in a place where they feel safe and comfortable.”
Right to work states take away workers’ chances of a reasonable life now and destroy the chance of a worker’s security later. Here’s a 2011 Donald Trump saying he’s all for “right to work” laws, while somehow saying unions haven’t hurt his business, even though all of his business involves unions. I put it here because this is the argument for “right to work laws” coming out of the dumbest face in politics.

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Mercedes-Benz Pulls ‘O’Reilly Factor’ Ads Amid Sexual Harassment Controversy

“Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now,” the company said in a statement.
Mercedes-Benz is pulling its advertisements from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor after a slew of sexual harassment claims against host Bill O’Reilly were made public Saturday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The car company, calling the accusations “disturbing,” confirmed Monday that its ads have been “reassigned” in a statement.

“We had advertising running on The O’Reilly Factor (we run on most major cable news shows) and it has been reassigned in the midst of this controversy,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told THR. “The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.”

In a New York Times exposé published over the weekend, it was revealed that five women claiming to have been sexual harassed or verbally abused by the host received over $13 million in payouts from Fox News and O’Reilly to agree to keep quiet about the accusations.

O’Reilly has since denied all claims and issued the following statement Saturday: “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”

The statement continued, “But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

CNNMoney first reported that Mercedes-Benz has dropped its advertising on the Fox show.

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