Considering a profession in politics? Before you get your hopes up and start thinking this is a career path that will lead you towards a life of luxury, perhaps look into the average salaries of those awarded these “elite” positions. Considering the long hours and public scrutiny that comes with most of these jobs, the premature grey hairs may not be worth these minuscule paychecks.
On the other hand, however, most White House jobs come with an ungodly number of perks that seem to encourage candidates to overlook their lack of compensation. Take a look at what White House jobs pay under President Donald Trump, and how they compare to those paid under presidents in the past.
The President In Office — $400,000
Every president since 2001 has received an annual salary of $400,000, along with a $50,000 expense account. The position also comes with a number of perks, including $100,000 for travel and $19,000 for entertainment, both tax-free. Each family also receives a decor allowance of $100,000 upon moving into the White House, to make it feel more like home.
Then, of course, there are the perks of having a full staff on hand to handle the cooking, cleaning, landscaping, and even their medical needs.
The First Lady — $0
Despite the amount of work required of the First Lady (or First Gentleman) while their partner is in office, they do not receive a salary. Some of their titles include SVP of Communications and Strategic Planning, Head of Program Management, and VP of Global Affairs, all which are estimated to be worth more than $173,000 in the job market. The current First Lady is Melania Trump.
Several recent First Ladies who’ve supported their husbands in the White House have actually left behind successful and lucrative careers to do so, including Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama.
The Vice-President — $230,700
The Vice-President receives an annual salary equivalent to those who hold the position of the chief justice of the United States and the speaker of the House. They’ve been paid $230,700 per year since 2010, which occasionally increases with cost-of-living.
On top of access to a private plane, the Vice-President gets to move into a 33-room house located just three miles from the White House, in the U.S. Naval Observatory. Some have said that the Vice-President’s quarters are nicer than those at the White House, and many media events are held there.
Acting Chief of Staff — $203,500
Nicknamed “The Gatekeeper,” the Acting Chief of Staff is responsible for managing the president’s schedule, overseeing the White House staff, and ultimately deciding who gets to meet with the president. While it’s not a requirement that the sitting president appoints someone to this position, most of them find that the role is essential.
The current Chief of Staff is Mick Mulvaney, who is the third person to hold this position under President Trump. He earns $203,500 per year, which is a bit more than Denis McDonough, who earned $176,461 in 2016, under President Obama.
Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy — $183,000
Formerly the Director of the White House National Trade Council, this role was renamed under Trump’s presidency to the Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. The objective of those in this position is to protect American workers and domestic manufacturers while also advising the president on trade and manufacturing policy.
Currently, the position is held by Peter Navarro, who receives an annual salary of $183,000.
Chief of Staff to the First Lady — $183,000
The First Lady (or First Gentleman) may not get a salary for all of the work they do, but they do have a staff to assist them with their required duties. With a dozen or so staff members on the payroll, the Chief of Staff to the First Lady’s first responsibility is to manage them all. Additionally, the person in the role handles the First Lady’s schedule and day to day operations.
Currently, Lindsay Reynolds holds this position under First Lady Melania Trump, earning $183,000 per year. This is slightly more than Christina Tchen, who held the same position under First Lady Michelle Obama, earning $176,461 per year.
Deputy Director of the National Economic Council — $168,000
The National Economic Council is responsible for advising the president on domestic and global economic policy. President Donald Trump has several employees in this sector, and the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council manages them all.
Right now, this position is held by Andrew Olmen, who receives a salary of $168,000 per year. In 2016, Jason Miller held the same position under President Obama, and earned $149,654.
Director of the National Economic Council — $183,000
As the Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow is the person responsible for giving the president sensible advise on economic policy matters outside of those relating to domestic policy. He is also responsible for creating the Economic Report of the President each year, along with other staff members working for the National Economic Council.
Kudlow earns a salary of $183,000 per year, which is just slightly more than what Jeff Zients earned in the same role. Serving under President Obama, Zients’ salary was $176,461 per year.
Director of White House Information Technology — $168,000
Imagine what it would be like working in IT at the White House under President Trump. Your phone would be ringing at all hours of the day and night with radical demands from Trump to ban Hillary Clinton and Queen Elizabeth from Twitter. The position, which was first created by President Obama, is currently held by Roger L. Stone, earning him $168,000 per year.
This is quite a bit more than the salary offered in 2016, when the position was first introduced. David Recordon made just $121,752 while he was the Director of White House Information Technology.
Director of White House Travel Office — $92,400
Compared to the rest of the salaries for White House employees, the Director of White House Travel Office is definitely getting ripped off. Responsible for booking travel accommodations for all of the White House press corps members, the position is currently held by Bethany Pritchard.
She got the position in 2019, after getting her start as a staff assistant under President Trump. While this salary is hardly worthy of the work this position requires, it’s far more than what Ashley Tate-Gilmore got. She held the same position under President Obama in 2016, and was given a salary of just $77,625.
Director of Stenography — $95,500
While most White House positions have a turnover that aligns with the president’s term, the Director of Stenography is one of the few jobs that don’t have a political agenda. Dominique Dansky Bari currently holds this position under President Donald Trump, and has been working in the same department since 2014. She’s responsible for a team of stenographers who take notes on all official White House meetings for the press.
Margaret Suntum held the Director of Stenography position before her and received a substantially larger salary at $117,846 per year in 2016. It seems like funding for the position was cut under Trump’s administration.
Social Secretary — $168,000
Considered the least controversial job in the White House, the Social Secretary is basically a glorified event planner. They’re responsible for executing all of the social events held in the White House, such as the Christmas tree lighting and the Easter egg roll. The position is currently held by Anna “Rickie” Niceta, who was appointed by the First Lady.
She makes $168,000 per year, which is far more than what the former Social Secretary made under President Obama. Deesha Dyer made just $119,723 in 2016, in the same position.
Press Secretary — $183,000
With Donald Trump in the White House, the Press Secretary is probably the toughest job in Washington DC. For this reason, it’s also one of the highest-paid gigs. Trump’s current Press Secretary is Stephanie Grisham, who receives a salary of $183,000 per year. She is the third person to hold this position since Trump got into office in 2017.
Both Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee resigned from the job abruptly over the past few years. The position received a slight salary bump since it was held by Josh Earnest in 2016. Under Obama’s presidency, he earned $176,461 per year.
Advisor to the President & Senior Advisor — $0
In addition to Stephen Miller, both Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner also hold the title of Senior Advisor. Kushner is responsible for advising the president on strategic planning, while Ivanka is responsible for policies regarding women's issues.
Neither of them receives a salary for their work, which is suitable considering they have zero experience working in government.
Executive Assistant to the President — $120,000
As Executive Assistant to the President, Molly Michael is responsible for reading and responding to all of Trump’s correspondence, scheduling his meetings, arranging certain functions, and welcoming visitors to the White House.
As Trump’s right-hand woman, Michael earns $120,000 per year, and likely deserves every penny.
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs — $183,000
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs is responsible for advising the president on national security issues. Additionally, they serve on the national security council, which often produces sensitive intelligence information.
Currently, the position is held by Robert C. O'Brien, who earns $183,000 per year. Susan Rice held the position under former President Barack Obama, earning a salary of $176,461 in 2016.
Director of Media Operations for the Office of the First Lady — $72,700
The Office of the First Lady is run by the First Lady and has its own set of staff. Also referred to as the East Wing, one of these staff members includes Anne LeHardy, who is the Director of Media Operations for the Office of the First Lady. Hired by Melania Trump in 2018, she earns $72,700 per year.
While no one under Obama’s administration held this title, Joanna Rosholm was the Deputy Communications Director under the former First Lady. In 2016, she received a salary of $78,124.
Chief Calligrapher — $99,400
As one of the more unique jobs in the White House, the Chief Calligrapher at the White House earns $99,400 per year. They’re responsible for writing out invitations, certificates, place cards, programs, and other documents in calligraphy. Lee Ann Clark currently holds this position, with a staff of two working beneath her.
Her salary falls within a reasonable range of those who held this position in the past. In 2016, the Chief Calligrapher under Obama made $100,110 per year.
Director of Presidential Personnel — $168,000
When applying for a job in the White House, all applicants first go through the Presidential Personnel Office. The office reviews potential candidates and will recommend someone to the president or to the Senate when a position needs to be filled. Many positions require candidates to be approved by the Senate before they can be offered.
The Director of Presidential Personnel runs this office and can actually reject a president’s request for a specific candidate. Sean Doocey currently fills this role, earning a salary of $168,000. This is a bit lower than the $172,200 Rodin Mehrbani earned under Obama in 2016, performing the same duties.
Ethics Counsel — $151,633
Having to provide President Donald Trump with legal advice on ethics matters in no simple task! Trump currently has two attorneys who hold this title, one being Frank Walsh. After serving as Ethics Counsel for the US Agency for International Development, he was promoted to work directly for the president, making $151,633 per year.
Former President Barack Obama also had two attorneys on staff with the title of Ethics Counsel. The higher-paid employee earned $123,406, in 2016.
Deputy Director of Communications — $168,000
The Deputy Director of Communications is basically a glorified marketing manager. They’re responsible for developing long-term strategies to promote the goals and accomplishments of the organization.
Jessica Ditto currently holds this position and has been working with Trump since his campaigning days. She earns $168,000 per year, which is a bit lower than what Jennifer Psaki earned in the position in 2016.
Acting Director of White House Visitors Office — $95,800
As one of the biggest attractions in the country, the White House receives an average of 6,000 visitors each day. The White House Visitors Office organizes tours and maintains the areas visitors get to explore, while the acting director manages the office staff.
Dana Hurtik has been the White House Visitors Office acting director since 2017, earning $95,800 per year. The same position was held by Ellie Schafer in 2016, with a higher salary at $116,679 per year.
Senior Videographer — $72,700
The White House keeps a videographer on staff to ensure all of the president’s biggest moments are caught on film. There are currently two videographers working for President Donald Trump’s administration, including Senior Videographer Samuel Brown.
He earns $72,700 per year, which is just a few thousand dollars less than what the position paid in 2016.
Speechwriter — $120,000
Some of the most essential White House employees are the speechwriters. President Donald Trump has four speechwriters on staff, two who are paid a salary of $120,000. While Trump seems to like to go off script, without writers Brittany Baldwin and Theodore Royer his speeches would be even more disastrous than they already are.
When Obama was in office, he had nine speechwriters on staff, with salaries that ranged from $42,613 to $176,461 back in 2016.
West Wing Receptionist — $48,800
While a secretarial job may not sound very thrilling, working as the West Wing Receptionist has got to be interesting. The perfect entry-level position for someone looking to move up in politics, the role is currently filled by Hannah Zakaria.
After getting her start as a White House intern in 2018, she was offered the job of West Wing Receptionist after just three months. Zakaria earns $48,800 per year, which is just slightly more than the $48,000 Leah Katz-Hernandez earned in 2016.
Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor (Kellyanne Conway) — $183,000
One of the highest-paid White House employees working under Trump is Kellyanne Conway. Her official title is Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor, earning her a salary of $183,000. While it’s not clear what tasks this position requires, Conway seems to spend most of her time clarifying the things Trump says to the public and tweeting.
Obama didn’t have an employee working under this title while he was in office, but his highest-paid employees earned $172,200 in 2009.
Senior Adviser to the Chief of Staff for Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement — $239,595
John Czwartacki is by far the highest-paid White House staffer under Trump’s administration. With a salary of $239,595, he even makes more than his boss, Mick Mulvaney. As the Senior Adviser to the Chief of Staff for Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement, his job is to advise and report to Mulvaney.
As the former chief communications officer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Czwartacki brings a valuable set of knowledge to the job. While no one with this title worked in the White House during Obama’s administration, the highest salary in 2009 was $172,200 per year.
Director of the Presidential Gift Office — $58,200
One of the more peculiar jobs in the White House is the Director of the Presidential Gift Office. The person holding this position is responsible for keeping track of all of the gifts presented to the sitting president. This is essential, as anything gifted to the president is put into the National Archives.
If he wants to keep it for himself, he must buy it at market value after his term is up. Luke Niederhelman currently holds this position, earning $58,200 per year. In 2009, a similar position was filled during the Obama administration. The Assistant Director of Correspondence for Gifts earned $50,000 per year.
Director of Youth Correspondence — $58,200
The President of the United States receives letters from all over the country, including many from children. Perhaps you remember being assigned by a teacher to write to the sitting president back when you were in school. Unfortunately, the president likely never set eyes on your letter, as it is the job of the Director of Youth Correspondence to reply to them.
Montana Hyde currently holds this position, earning $58,200 per year. The only comparable role under the Obama administration would be the Assistant Director of Correspondence For Student Correspondence, who earned a salary of $50,000 in 2009.
Director of Volunteers, Comment Line, and Greetings for Presidential Correspondence — $64,400
The White House has a comment line that allows people to call in, likely with their complaints. Volunteers answer the phones, taking the brunt of these calls without ever seeing a paycheck. The Director of Volunteers, Comment Line, and Greetings for Presidential Correspondence manages these volunteers as well as the correspondence that should get passed on to the president.
Nicole D'Arcangelo currently holds this position, earning $64,400 per year. A similar position was held by Darren Martin during the Obama administration, paying much less at $50,500, in 2015.
Digital Content Producer — $72,700
A position created in recent years, the Digital Content Producer is responsible for creating and sharing content online. This includes everything from what’s on the White House website to its social media channels.
While Trump certainly likes to contribute to digital content efforts on Twitter, Clay Shoemaker officially holds the title. He earns $72,700 per year, which is a bump in salary from 2017 when the position paid $63,125.
Social Aide — $0
A Social Aide is a military official who attends major functions at the White House in uniform. They’re there as an added security measure to make guests feel more comfortable, but they are welcome to mingle and enjoy the party.
Often they get to meet big celebrities, which may be why so many officers in the military are eager to volunteer. This job doesn’t pay anything, but the perks make it worth it for many.
Deputy Assistant to the President for Operations and Personal Aide to the President — $158,000
Often referred to as the President's "Body Man," the Deputy Assistant to the President for Operations and Personal Aide to the President is responsible for being the president’s every man. Whether it’s a pen or a newspaper, their job is to meet the president’s immediate needs, and they often become good friends.
The position is currently held by Nicholas Luna, who earns $158,000 per year. This is far more than President Trump’s first body man, John McEntee, who made $115,000 in 2017.
Director of Oval Office Operations — $145,000
As a glorified receptionist, the Director of Oval Office Operations is one of the only White House employees with complete access to the Oval Office. No one can get inside to see the president without their approval, as they’re considered the gatekeeper.
The current Director of Oval Office Operations is Madeleine Westerhout, who earns $145,000 per year. Brian Mosteller held the position under Obama, and is known for never leaving his side while he was in Washington. In 2015, he earned significantly less in the role, with a salary of just $102,000.
Records Management Analyst — $66,900
The Records Management Analyst is quite a dull job that requires those in this role to basically scan and file documents. Something that could potentially make this job interesting is having the freedom to read some of the documents throughout the day.
Patricia Blount is currently the Records Management Analyst working under Trump’s administration, earning $66,900 per year. In 2015, Marea Munro held this position and earned a salary of just $42,000.
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination — $30,000
The Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the president’s policy process. Basically ensuring things run smoothly, the position is currently held by Chris Liddell. Formerly the Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives, Liddell makes a salary of just $30,000.
In 2009, Mona Sutphen held a similar position under Obama’s administration, with a significantly higher salary of $172,200.
Counsel to the President — $183,000
The Counsel to the President is the top lawyer in the White House who informs the president what they can and cannot legally do in office. Understandably, this job can be quite complex and often involves analyzing what the president is most likely to get away with.
The position is currently held by Pat Cipollone, who earns $183,000 per year. Warren Eggleston held the same position under Obama’s administration, earning a salary of $173,922 in 2015.
Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs — $183,000
With hundreds of senators and members of the House of Representatives, the president needs help maintaining relationships with them. This task is assigned to the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, who makes sure everyone is happy so they’re more likely to agree with the president’s agenda.
This position is currently held by Eric Ueland. His salary of $183,000 is a bit more than what the same position offered under Obama’s administration. The salary for the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs was $172,200 in 2009.
A Former President — $207,800
A president isn’t financially cut off the moment they leave the White House. In fact, the benefits a president receives only improves when their term is up. They receive a lifetime pension in the amount equal to the salary of the head of an executive department. Currently, that amount is $207,800 per year. They also receive funding to help them transition out of the White House for seven months after their term ends, to help pay for office space, a staff, and any other necessities.
On top of that, the former president and their families receive protection from the Secret Service for life, free medical treatment, annual reimbursement for travel expenses up to $1 million, and an honorary funeral.
Former First Lady — $20,000
Even though the First Lady (or First Gentleman) doesn’t receive a salary for her work while living in the White House, they do have the option to receive a pension.
They can receive $20,000 per year as long as they’re not receiving a pension from elsewhere. Additionally, they can be reimbursed up to $500,000 a year in travel expenses.
Homeland Security Secretary — $179,000
The Homeland Security Secretary is a relatively new position in the White House, created as a result of the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. In charge of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the individual offered this position is in charge of the safety of U.S. citizens.
This includes formulating counter-terrorism tactics, enhancing security, securing and managing the United States borders while still facilitating trade and travel, enforcing immigration laws, securing cyberspace, increasing resilience to natural disasters, and providing essential support for national and economic security. Chad Wolf has held the position since November of 2019, earning a yearly salary of $179,000.
House Of Representatives — $174,000
The House of Representatives makes up the United States Congress who serves each district. States are split into districts based on their population, so larger states all have more representatives. For example, California has the largest number of representatives at 53, while states like Alaska and Delaware only have one.
In total, there are 435 representatives whose job in to vote on whether or not to pass proposed bills. Most members of Congress earn $174,000 per year unless they are in a leadership role.
Speaker Of The House Of Representatives — $223,500
Traditionally, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is elected by the other House of Representatives. They’re likely to belong to the political party with the most members in Congress. As an important position in the United States government, it’s also one of the most difficult.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is responsible for keeping the House in order as well as assigning committee memberships and chairmanships. Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California currently holds the position, earning $223,500 per year.
Director of The United States Secret Service — $108,000
As the head of the Secret Service, the Director of the United States Secret Service runs the day to day operations of the team.
In addition to protecting the nation’s leaders, the Secret Service is also responsible for safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States. Appointed by the President, James M. Murray is currently holding this position.
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers — $155,500
The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is a position that runs the CEA, an agency within the Executive Office of the President. The CEA, or the Council of Economic Advisers, is responsible for doing the research needed to put together the annual Economic Report of the President.
Additionally, it’s their job to advise the president on economic policy. The chairman is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Swedish-born American economist Tomas J. Philipson has held the position since June of 2019 and earns $155,500 per year.
Director of Video Production — $86,200
The Director of Video Production is responsible for producing and editing videos for the White House. Likely, these are the videos posted on the official White House social media pages and on their website.
While you might think that working for the president would have perks, the salary is actually on point with the average pay for similar jobs in Washington DC. The position is currently held by Alexander J. Anderson, earning him $86,200 per year.
White House Director of Strategic Communications — $183,000
As a senior position, the White House Director of Strategic Communications reports directly to the president. Created by President Donald Trump in 2016, only three people have held this position. The first was Hope Hicks, followed by Mercedes Schlapp, and Alyssa Farah.
While the responsibilities for this position have never been defined, it’s assumed that they coordinate media appearances, advise the president on messaging, and take the necessary steps to ensure everything on the president’s agenda gets done.
Assistant To The President For Strategic Initiatives — $183,000
The Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives works with the president to apply private sector solutions to the nation’s problems.
The position is currently held by American lawyer and prison reform activist, Brooke Rollins. As part of the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI) the position is new in the White House and receives a salary of $183,000 per year.
White House Deputy Chief Of Staff — $183,000
As the top aide to the White House Chief of Staff, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff is the most senior aide to the president. Those in the position answer to the Chief of Staff and are responsible for keeping White House bureaucracy running as smoothly as possible.
Some administrations choose to have several people in this position, including the Trump administration, which has John Fleming as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Chris Liddell as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, Tony Ornato as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and Dan Scavino as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.
White House Executive Clerk — $165,417
The White House Executive Clerk works in the White House Office of the Executive Clerk, earning a salary of $165,417 per year. They serve as the middle man for official documents that are sent between Congress and the president.
Additionally, they’re responsible for preparing official documents such as executive orders, bills, and messages. David Kalbaugh currently holds the position.
Director of Strategic Partnerships and African American Outreach — $106,000
The Director of Strategic Partnerships and African American Outreach is responsible for connecting the Black community and the Trump administration. Previously held by reality star Omarosa Manigault Newman, the position remained unfilled for months after she was fired in 2017.
It was temporarily filled by Henry Childs II until he was offered the position of National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. He took care of the responsibilities of both positions until Nicole Frazier was hired in 2019.
The Director Of Writers For Presidential Correspondence — $72,700
The Director Of Writers For Presidential Correspondence has an important job in the White House. They read hundreds of letters written to the president, choosing roughly ten to be included in the president’s nightly briefing book.
Additionally, they must channel the president’s persona to answer some of the letters. Currently, the position is held by James Beley, who earns $72,700 per year.
White House Travel Manager — $58,200
The President of the United States travels quite often, and he needs to take a decent-sized staff with him most of the time. In the position of White House Travel Manager, those appointed are responsible for making travel arrangements and itineraries for the White House staff.
Kevin Benson currently holds the position, earning $58,200 per year.
White House Research Assistants — $48,000
There are currently five research assistants working in the White House, likely each with different duties. They’re responsible for collecting data, conducting statistical analysis, creating presentations, and including the most recent academic findings in policies.
As they support different offices within the White House, their salaries range between $43,000 and $57,510.
Junior Digital Designer — $43,600
The Junior Digital Designer at the White House handles much of the graphic design work. This can include anything from the White House’s social media posts, images on the website, campaign posters, and newsletters.
Currently, Taylor Anthony holds this position, earning $43,600 per year.
Stenographer — $70,500
There are currently three stenographers working at the White House. They’re responsible for recording everything the president says, especially when talking to the press or the public.
These recordings are intended for the presidential archives to prevent any confusion or miscommunication. The highest paying stenographers earn $70,500 per year.
Secret Service Uniformed Division — $63,970
While most people are familiar with the Secret Service, most people aren’t aware of the organization’s Uniformed Division. Made up of about 1,300 officers and technicians, it’s considered a more dangerous position than most. They’re responsible for screening White House visitors for weapons and patrolling the exterior.
So, when you hear stories about someone hopping the fence at the White House, the Uniformed Division is responsible for tackling them on the lawn.
Associate Writer — $43,600
When other staffers in the White House need help responding to the hundreds of letters the president receives each day, they turn to the Associate Writer.
They might also lend a hand to the speechwriters and content producers as well, lending an extra set of eyes to projects. There are currently two people with the title Associate Writer in the White House, each earning a yearly salary of $43,600.
Special Assistant to the President For Presidential Appointments And Scheduling — $120,000
As the title suggests, the Special Assistant To The President For Presidential Appointments And Scheduling is in charge of managing his schedule.
These aren’t the president’s dentist and salon appointments, but meetings, phone calls, and more that are part of the president’s duties. Abigail Bacak currently holds the position, earning a salary of $120,000 per year.
Lead Press Advance Representative — $80,000
The Lead Press Advance Representative is responsible for preparing for any events or activities the president must attend. This includes press cooperation, security interaction, and negotiating foreign press access.
The position pays $80,000 per year.