Nearly half of the Trump administration’s White House staff will earn in excess of $100,000 per year, according to new salary details released last Friday.
While some staff work pro bono, such as “First Daughter” Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, 22 of Trump’s aides, including some with a net worth in the tens of millions of dollars, earn $179,000 per annum.
These include press secretary Sean Spicer, worth $4.5 million; chief of staff Reince Priebus, worth $8 million; senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, who disclosed assets worth up to $39.3 million; and chief strategist Steve Bannon, who sits atop a fortune worth between $9.5 and $48 million.
This comes as no surprise, as a substantial portion of Congress are also millionaires, but it only reflects that the American government is out of touch with the people it rules.
The median American household income was just over $56,500 in 2015, according to data collected by the Census Bureau, a fraction of the salaries paid to many high-profile public servants. While politicians travel to their summer homes and attend yacht parties, many average Americans struggle to keep a roof over their head.
Also making $179,000 is Omarosa Manigault, a former “Apprentice” contestant who now serves as director of communications for the White House office of public liaison.
Compared to the Obama administration in 2016, Trump’s team is smaller by nearly 100 people, but the median salary of Trump employees is about $15,000 more than what employees of the former president received last year. Obama’s most highly paid staffer received $176,461, while Trump’s highest, senior policy adviser Mark House, is paid $187,100.
Combined, Trump’s payroll for 2017 still comes out about $4 million less than Obama’s from last year.
Around 33 percent of Obama’s staff were paid in excess of $100,000; the number is over 40 percent for the Trump team, making the salaries for Trump’s administration more “top heavy.”
The University of Akron’s David Cohen told NPR that Trump’s smaller staff might actually indicate the administration is “having a hard time attracting talent.”
“It’s running right now, but it’s not running particularly well,” Cohen said, adding “You have new levels of stress that few White House staff have ever had to deal with.”
Press secretary Sean Spicer challenged Cohen’s remark, telling NPR “there is a huge demand for jobs” in the administration, and that the purpose of the lean staff was to “give taxpayers the best return.”
In addition to Ivanka and Jared Kushner, “Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives” Reed S. Cordish is also paid nothing, according to the document published Friday.
Congress has required the White House to release staff salary information and staff titles every year since 1995.
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