A number of Trump White House officials are sprinting for the exits. There are several reasons why, and for some, it may have to do with compensation. The maximum salary at the White House is $179,700. While that may sound like a lot to the average American, many people in and around Washington D.C. can and do make significantly more in the private sector. Even President Trump, who earns a salary of $400,000 per year, was making millions* outside of government.
Why would these people be willing to give up so much in potential earnings outside of the government in order to work in the Trump administration? Prestige, perhaps. And there’s nothing quite like having “White House” on your resume.
Trump’s administration is staffed with a lot of wealthy people, too. These are people who are used to earning a lot, and demand high salaries as a result. According to an official report released by the administration in July, 22 people were earning the maximum salary during the first six months of Trump’s presidency. For comparison, only 16 people earned that much under Obama. In all likelihood, there are more earning the top pay grade by now — officials like Chief of Staff John Kelly, for example, who wasn’t hired until after the report was released.
Who’s on the list? We’ll go through them. Note, however, that we’re counting people that may not be in the administration anymore, and excluding some that currently are. This is because we’re getting our data from the official report which hasn’t been updated. So, things are subject to change.
Here’s who’s pulling in the maximum allowable salary at the White House:
15. Omarosa Manigault
- Omarosa decided that she would resign. Or, she was dragged out by Secret Service agents. You decide.
You might remember Omarosa. She was famously on Trump’s TV show The Apprentice and has since remained a pop culture and reality show icon. In true reality show fashion, she also decided to leave the White House; Either that or she was thrown out by Secret Service. We’ll probably never know. But you should know that as communications director for the Office of Public Liaison, she was making top-dollar. After leaving the White House, she returned to her reality TV roots, appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.
Next: Causin’ a ruckus with George Sifakis.
14. George Sifakis
- Sifakis served as Public Liaison director but left the role this summer.
You’ll notice something quickly as we work our way down the list: A lot of people only worked in the Trump administration for a short amount of time. George Sifakis is one of them, and he served as Public Liaison director until this September. Previously, he worked as an aide during the George W. Bush administration, and at the age of 48, likely has some more political tours left in him.
Next: The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
13. Thomas Bossert
- Bossert isn’t a household name, but he’s a fairly high-ranking Trump official.
His official job title is Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Thomas Bossert has room to grow at the age of 42. He started young, though, as Bossert served as Deputy Homeland Security adviser under George W. Bush, and now is one of the highest-paid Trump administration officials.
Next: The president’s chief counsel.
12. Donald McGhan
- Here’s a name you’re likely to hear a lot more of in coming months.
Donald McGhan is Trump’s lawyer and serves as White House Counsel. You may recognize him from his long hair and his clashes with members of Trump’s legal team, like Ty Cobb. But as the multiple investigations into the Trump administration ramp up, you can expect McGhan to earn his paycheck — which is a White House maximum of $179,700.
Next: The House Staff Secretary.
11. Robert Porter
- Here was his title: Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination & White House Staff Secretary.
A Rhodes Scholar and Oxford graduate, Robert Porter worked under Trump’s Chief of Staff, and he served an important role in the White House by controlling who and what gets to the president. Porter resigned from his White House role in February 2018 after his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence.
Next: Someone who’s found themselves in some hot water over the Russia investigation.
10. Kathleen McFarland
- K.T. McFarland served as Deputy National Security Advisor — until General McMaster cleaned house.
Kathleen McFarland had a very brief stint in the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor before being pushed out in April. She was nominated for an ambassadorship in Singapore, but later asked that she be withdrawn from consideration. If her name looks familiar, though, it’s because she’s been caught up in the Russia investigation thanks to her former boss, Michael Flynn.
Next: The woman working closely with the First Lady.
9. Lindsay Reynolds
- Even the First Lady’s Chief of Staff draws a top salary.
Another veteran of the Bush administration, Lindsay Reynolds was hired shortly after the inauguration to be Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff. Amazingly enough, Reynolds had a very different life before joining the Bush administration in 2004. Evidently, she was a third-grade teacher in Ohio before coming to D.C. You’d have to think that her maximum salary is quite an upgrade over the pay grade of an elementary school teacher.
Next: A man with a remarkable likeness to James Carville.
8. Marc Short
- Another long title: White House Director of Legislative Affairs and Deputy Assistant to the President.
Marc Short has been another “under the radar” Trump official until recently. You may catch him on Meet the Press these days defending the president, however, as he’s becoming another face of the administration. Short has been around D.C. for a long time and has been instrumental in helping push the president’s agenda on the Hill.
Next: The man rumored to be behind Trump’s tweets.
7. Dan Scavino
- Scavino is the “man behind the curtain” when it comes to social media at the White House.
Dan Scavino is the Director of Social Media at the White House. While that sounds like a pretty sweet gig, you have to remember that social media is a constant source of turbulence for this particular administration. As such, you can imagine Scavino is earning his salary. He famously got his start as Trump’s golf caddie.
Next: Trump’s former Chief of Staff.
6. Reince Priebus
- Priebus was one of the first high-profile officials to leave the administration.
After Trump won the election, Reince Priebus — who was serving as the chair of the Republican National Committee — was rewarded with the position of Chief of Staff. The problem? Trump reportedly didn’t care for him very much, and Priebus was the victim of the “murder-suicide” that involved the hiring and firing of Steve “The Mooch” Scaramucci within a week and a half.
Next: The “C+ Santa Monica fascist” himself.
5. Stephen Miller
- The plucky 32-year old has managed to make a name for himself by hitching his wagon to Trump.
A relatively young man, Stephen Miller is a southern California-bred boy with a distaste for immigration. That’s what’s he is most famous for, anyway. But these days, he serves as one of Trump’s senior policy advisors. He also writes speeches and worked for Senator Jeff Sessions before Sessions became Attorney General. He’s also known for falling asleep in meetings.
Next: “Shouty Spice.”
4. Sean Spicer
- Before he was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Spicer was also earning the max White House salary.
We won’t forget Sean Spicer anytime soon. He’ll be remembered for his fiery press conferences, in which, as the White House Press Secretary, he was known for intense back-and-forths with reporters. Spicer was also parodied on Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy, and is reportedly working on a book.
Next: Perhaps the most controversial of all White House staff members under Trump.
3. Steve Bannon
- Bannon was perhaps the most controversial figure in the Trump administration.
When Steve Bannon was hired into a White House role, a lot of people were upset. He has a very checkered past, after all, and came directly from the right-wing website Breitbart to the Oval Office as Trump’s chief strategist. Bannon didn’t last long, though, as Trump reportedly grew tired of ceding the spotlight to his underling. He was fired in August 2017.
Next: A woman who’s known as Trump’s top assistant.
2. Hope Hicks
- Hicks had a meteoric rise to one of the president’s most trusted and beloved assistants.
Hope Hicks is the former White House Communications Director. She’s under 30 years old, making her rise from fashion assistant under Ivanka Trump to a high-ranking White House job even more amazing. Unfortunately, she’s become a key figure in the Russia investigation as well. Even so, she was still making a good amount of money before resigning abruptly in February 2018.
Finally: Kellyanne herself.
1. Kellyanne Conway
- Conway is one of the White House’s most strident defenders, she supported Ted Cruz — one of his biggest rivals.
Kellyanne Conway is perhaps the most visible of all Trump administration officials. Her official title is Counselor to the President, and she’s been by Trump’s side since becoming his campaign manager in August 2016. These days, she’s typically found on TV defending the administration and spinning stories — a job that should probably pay more than the maximum $179,700.
*Others earning the max salary, per the July White House report:
- Andrew Bremberg – Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy Council
- Ricky Dearborn – Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative, Cabinet, Intergovernmental Affairs and Implementation
- John DeStefano – Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel
- Jason Greenblatt – Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations
- Joseph Kellogg Jr. – Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff for the National Security Council
- Joseph Hagin – Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations
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