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Melania Trump's National Park Service Birthday Tweet Sparks Backlash

Politics
Melania Trump attends a Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention summit at the Health Resources and Service Administration Aug. 20 in Rockville, Maryland. Getty Images

Melania Trump celebrated the National Park Service's (NPS) 102nd birthday at a White House event on Saturday. In a tweet, she thanked NPS for its "commitment to this country!"

The Internet, however, was quick to point out her husband's efforts to roll back protections of our public lands in his push to open them up for mining, drilling and other exploitative operations.


"Your husband is dismantling protections for these lands and selling them off to the highest bidders as we speak. Your hypocrisy has no limits," a Twitter user replied to FLOTUS.

The Trump administration has made drastic cuts to the boundaries of national monuments and plans to open thousands of miles of coastline to offshore oil drilling.

Documents published by the New York Times in March revealed that gaining access to the oil, natural gas and uranium deposits in Bears Ears and coal reserves in Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah were key reasons behind their shrinkage.

Another user commented, "Your sentiment falls flat when you do everything to remove protections and funding FOR our national park services!"

Trump's fiscal 2019 budget proposed massive budget cuts to the National Park Service, including firing 1,835 employees at a time when park visits are at record highs.

The president's relationship with NPS got off to a rocky start on his first day. As one Twitter user asked the First Lady, "Are you talking about same Parks service that was punished for telling the truth about the inauguration crowd size?"

The comment referred to the department's retweet of a photo comparing the sizes of President Trump and President Obama's inaugural crowds. NPS was ordered to cease tweeting and was temporarily shut down.

Earlier this year, the majority of the park service's advisory panel abruptly quit in protest of the Trump administration's policies, which they say neglect science, climate change and environmental protections.

In May, NPS released a long-delayed report showing that all coastal parks will need to contend with both changing sea levels and the intensification of storms and associated storm surge, especially along the southeast coast, where it is facing more tropical storms and hurricanes. The report was held up for 10 months and finally released after several attempts at censorship.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also received plenty of criticism when he proposed nearly tripling vehicle entrance fees during peak season. He abandoned the plan after widespread public outcry.

The National Park Service was created on Aug. 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Act. If you haven't visited a park already, try Sept. 22 when admission costs will be waived for National Public Lands Day. Admission will also be free on Nov. 11 to mark Veterans Day.

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