President Trump is pledging to chip in to assist Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, to the tune of $1 million of his personal funds.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the unexpected announcement during her briefing on Thursday. Responding to a question about whether the president planned to personally contribute, Sanders said Trump “would like to join in the efforts that a lot of the people that we’ve seen across this country do, and he’s pledging $1 million of personal money to the fund.”
Sanders told reporters that Trump had asked her to check with “the folks in this room since you are very good with research” about where he should make the donation for people in Texas and Louisiana.
As it happens, NPR has a list of where people wishing to donate funds to the Harvey recovery might look — as well as a warning about scams and schemes to avoid.
Trump has had a spotty record when it comes to pledging and then actually carrying through on his promises to donate money to charities. He has in the past also exaggerated the amount of money he has given through his now-shuttered charitable foundation. In January of 2016, then-candidate Trump pledged to give $1 million to veterans charities, but it wasn’t until reporters pressed him months later that most of the money was doled out.
Trump has been following through on a campaign pledge not to take a paycheck and instead donate the money; his first donation was to the National Park Service, even as his budget proposed cuts to the Interior Department. Trump’s second-quarter salary was slated to go to the Education Department. (Trump’s budget also called for cuts there.)
Sanders said the president intends to return to the Southwest on Saturday to view flood damage with stops possible in Houston and Lake Charles, La. Trump was in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday to meet with officials.
Vice President Pence surveyed flooded-out areas of Texas on Thursday. He helped pick up debris, visited a heavily damaged church in Rockport and stopped at a food distribution center in Victoria. He pledged support for flood victims, saying the White House will “be with you every day until Texas rebuilds stronger and better than before.”