President Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One after arriving in Corpus Christi, Tex., this week. (Charlie Blalock/EPA)
President Trump is pledging to donate $1 million toward hurricane disaster relief in Texas and Louisiana, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, Sanders was asked whether Trump’s pledged money would come from his personal finances or another source, such as a private charitable foundation he founded or his real estate company.
“I know that the president, he said he was personally going to give,” Sanders said. “I don’t know the legal part of exactly that, but he said his personal money.”
Before taking office, Trump, a real estate baron and television personality, had a history of overstating his charitable giving and taking credit for donations that came from other sources, as documented in a series of stories last year in The Washington Post.
Sanders said the president has not settled on specific charities and wants to solicit advice from the media.
“He’s actually asked that I check with the folks in this room since you are very good at research and have been doing a lot of reporting into the groups and organizations that are best and most effective in helping and providing aid,” she said. “He’d like some suggestions from the folks here, and I’d be happy to take those if any of you have them.”
The White House has said it would solicit advice from reporters before on where Trump should direct donations. Making good on a campaign promise, Trump is declining to accept a salary as president and instead steering the money elsewhere.
It’s not clear that reporter preferences have factored into where the money goes, however.
The administration has said Trump’s first-quarter salary went to the National Park Service for the maintenance of historic battlefields, including to restore a historic home at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.
His second-quarter salary went to the Education Department to help fund a science camp, according to the administration.
Thursday's announcement comes as Trump is planning a return visit Saturday to Texas, which was hardest hit by the deadly storm. Trump visited with elected officials and emergency responders in the state Tuesday.
Sanders said Trump tentatively plans to travel to the Houston area. On the same trip, he is also looking at surveying damage in around Lake Charles, La., Sanders said.