JFK: The Man Who Silently Refused His Salary

THE recent debacle that was the American election has left half the world stunned in its wake. Suddenly, we are standing on the threshold of a world where a superpower will be led by a supremacist. His innumerable debates and interviews were mocked by many but the truth is now undeniable –  the billionaire business mogul will be the President of The United States Of America. 

In a recent interview, Donald Trump stated that he would only accept $1 as salary when he takes office. This harks back to another US President who took a similar stance.

Happy to report, it was John F Kennedy.

JFK came from a wealthy family. He had already earned a significant amount of money from trust funds by the time he entered the congressional race. A millionaire by the time he was 21, JFK had seen his fair share of wealth and it wasn’t the dollars he was after. So when he took to office as the 35th President of The United States of America, he decided he wouldn’t take the presidential salary.

JKF not only refused his salary, but donated the entire amount to charity. Besides the basic essential expense amount of $50,000 that a President must receive for maintenance and upkeep of duties, he donated all of the remaining $100,000 of his pay cheque to various causes. The man also relinquished his entire congressional salary over 14 years in the House and Senate and chose instead to divert it to philanthropy. Add to that his income as President for nearly three years…and that sure is a lot of money to give away.

JFK never made the records of his donations public. But some of the charities he is said to have donated to included (but were not limited to), the Boy and Girl Scouts, the United Negro College Fund and the Cuban Families Committee. He truly cared about the lives of his countrymen and did everything in his power to improve wages, quality of life and the working conditions of the masses.

Right from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the establishment of the highly valued Peace Corps, signing the Trade Expansion Act to lower tariffs, the launch of the Civil Rights Movement to the abolition of the federal death penalty in the District of Columbia, all these valued contributions to society took place during JFK’s term as POTUS.

It’s ironic the comparison that draws out this information is between two elected heads of state of the world’s superpower! While we wonder what the state of affairs will be once the new US President is sworn in on January 20, we can’t help but look back and admire the compassionate, generous man that was John F Kennedy.

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