Trump First President Since JFK to Donate Salary


Donald Trump was one of the most unorthodox presidents in the United States’ modern history. He took on adversaries, allies, politicians, and the media. One of the hallmarks of his candidacy and presidency alike were dramatic platforms and pledges, such as his insistence that Mexico will pay for an American border wall, or that NATO has become obsolete. Donald Trump as a politician was defined by his persona as a political outsider.

And there is perhaps no move more “outsider” than not taking a salary in Washington, D.C.

As President, Trump sought to set himself apart from the locals in DC, a town famous for lobbying, Super PACs, and uber-rich power brokers getting richer off generous public salaries and pensions.

And on the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump made clear his intentions not to take a presidential salary: “The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected president, I’m accepting no salary, OK? That’s no big deal for me.”

The last president to donate his salary was JFK. Herbert Hoover is the only other president to do so, although George Washington attempted to decline his salary, before being forced by Congress to accept it, according to Forbes.

Here is a compiled list of where President Trump’s salary went over the years, compiled by Forbes:


  • Q1: $78,333 to the Department of Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) for maintenance backlog at historic battlefields.
  • Q2: $100,000 to the Department of Education to host a free, two-week space camp for 30 low-income, middle school girls. 
  • Q3: $100,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for “the planning and design of a large-scale public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.”
  • Q4: $100,000 to the Department of Transportation to support its programs to “rebuild and modernize our crumbling infrastructure.”


  • Q1: $100,000 to the Veteran’s Administration for “caregiver support in the form of mental health and peer support programs, financial aid, education training, and research.”
  • Q2: $100,000 to the Small Business Administration earmarked for a seven-month training program tailored for veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Q3: $100,000 to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Trump’s brother died of alcoholism-related causes at the age of 43.
  • Q4: $100,000 to the Department of Homeland Security.


  • Q1: $100,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be “used for outreach programs that benefit farmers[.]”
  • Q2: $100,000 to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Surgeon General. 
  • Q3: $100,000 to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health to “the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis.”
  • Q4: $100,000 to HHS, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health to “confront, contain, and combat #Coronavirus[.]”


  • Q1: $100,000 to HHS to “develop new therapies for treating and preventing COVID-19 so that we can safely reopen.”
  • Q2: $100,000 to the NPS in July 2020 to help pay for repairs on national monuments.

It remains unclear at the moment where Trump’s salary went during the last two quarters of Fiscal Year 2020.

Grassroots Pulse covers public policy and political issues aimed at engaging highly-active policy makers, donors, and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the political process in America today.

Image Credit: Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

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