Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (John Bolton) — $183,000
Another member of the $183k club was John Bolton. Until September 2019, he served as Trump’s national security advisor before resigning from the post. The job involves reporting to the president on matters of national security and serving on the national security council, which produces sensitive intelligence information. Under Obama, Susan Rice was making $176,461 per year in the same position, as of 2016.
Director of Media Operations for the Office of the First Lady (Anne LeHardy) — $72,700
The Office of the First Lady is also known as the East Wing and has its own staff, including communications officials. Anne LeHardy was hired as Melania Trump’s communications coordinator in 2018 after a tenure in production in the private sector. In the 2019 White House salary report, she’s listed as the first lady’s director of media operations, which pays her $72,700. Nobody in the Obama White House had this exact title in 2016 but Joanna Rosholm was listed as Michelle Obama’s deputy communications director and was paid $78,124 per year.
Chief Calligrapher (Lee Ann Clark) — $99,400
Who knew calligraphy was such a lucrative skill in 2019? There are three calligraphers on staff at the White House, the lowest-paid of whom makes $72,800 per year. Lee Ann Clark is chief calligrapher and brings home a tidy $99,400 for her beautiful writing, which adorns official invitations, certificates, name cards, programs and other documents. Obama also had three calligraphers on staff, with the top scribe earning $100,110 in 2016.
Director of Presidential Personnel (Sean Doocey) — $168,000
When the president needs to fill a position, they will turn to the folks inside the Presidential Personnel Office. This office is responsible for vetting possible candidates and making recommendations to the president for potential candidates who may need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as shown below. Sean Doocey, who makes $168,000 a year as director of the PPO, recently showed the power of his role by shooting down two candidates Trump wanted to work as secretary of Homeland Security. Under Obama, Rodin Mehrbani held the role and made $172,200 in 2016.
Ethics Counsel (Frank Walsh) — $151,633
How much is it worth to provide legal advice to the president on matters of ethics? A pretty penny, it turns out. Trump has two attorneys on payroll with the title of ethics counsel, the highest-earning of whom is Frank Walsh. A Georgetown law graduate, Walsh was formerly a judge advocate for the U.S. Army Reserve and served as ethics counsel for the United States Agency for International Development. Obama also had two ethics counsel attorneys on staff, the highest-paid of whom made $123,406 in 2016.
Deputy Director of Communications (Jessica Ditto) — $168,000
The communications staff is an important part of any political office, especially the White House. Jessica Ditto has been working for Trump since his campaign in 2016 and has served as deputy director of communications since he took office in Washington in 2017. She earns $168,000 in the role, while Adam Kennedy makes $158,000 to have the same job title under Trump. In Obama’s White House, Jennifer Psaki was director of communications and she made $174,714 in 2016.
Acting Director of White House Visitors Office (Dana Hurtik) — $95,800
The White House is one of the most famous residences in the world and sees many tourists every year. The White House Visitors Office is responsible for maintaining the facility and hosting tours. Dana Hurtik has worked as acting director of the White House Visitors Office since 2017 and makes a salary of $95,800 as of 2019. Ellie Schafer held that job under Obama and made $116,679 in 2016 for her efforts.
Senior Videographer (Samuel Brown) — $72,700
There’s lots to capture on video when you’re working at the White House and the Trump administration keeps two videographers on staff. Samuel Brown, who is not pictured below, is the White House’s senior videographer and makes $72,700 a year, while another videographer gets paid $64,400. In the Obama White House, Hope Hall was the sole videographer on staff and she was paid $76,095 in 2016 for filming the president’s biggest moments.