Following through on his promise, Donald Trump donated $78,333.32 to the National Park Service yesterday.
It’s a nice gesture—in a vacuum.
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) April 3, 2017
In reality, it’s meaningless.
Trump’s budget proposal features a particularly brutal $1.5 billion cut to the Department of the Interior, which is the parent department of, you guessed it, the National Park Service. Saying you hope to cut $1.5 billion and subsequently donating $78k is akin to saying you plan to chop off someone’s head, and then curiously paying for that person to get a manicure two weeks later. While that person may appreciate the gesture, all that talk of decapitation doesn’t just go away. Plus, it’s not like that very same person doesn’t still intend on committing this gruesome assault—it’s a goal of his.
It’s important that we see this donation for what it is, a hollow gesture meant to push a narrative that runs counter to reality. Donald Trump doesn’t care about the National Park Service—at all. If he did he wouldn’t be cutting a tremendous amount from their budget. This is surface-level optics. If you look a nanometer beneath the surface the whole thing collapses.
No wonder why Park Superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg seemed a bit, shall we say, unimpressed by the whole affair:
President's cuts to Interior: $1.5 billion
President's check to Park Service: $77K
Park Ranger's face: Priceless pic.twitter.com/5aOpOy5oMb
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) April 4, 2017