What White House Jobs Pay
Who knew calligraphy was such a lucrative skill? There are three calligraphers on staff at the White House, the lowest-paid of whom makes $84,400 per year. Lee Ann Clark is chief calligrapher and brings home a tidy $109,200 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.
When the president needs to fill a position, he 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 appointments. John D. McEntee II (pictured on the right, with Molly Michael) makes $183,000 a year as director of the PPO since assuming the role in February 2020. Under Obama, Rodin Mehrbani held the role and made $172,200 in 2016.
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 Monica Ashar. Obama also had two ethics counsel attorneys on staff, the highest-paid of whom made $123,406 in 2016.
Trump’s current mouthpiece for the media, Kayleigh McEnany, is one of the highest-paid members of the White House staff. In case you hadn’t noticed, press secretary is a very tough gig, which is why she’s the fourth person to hold that position since Trump took office in 2017. Sean Spicer abruptly resigned in 2017 and his replacement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, resigned in 2019, paving the way for Stephanie Grisham and then McEnany, who took on the role in April 2020. In 2016, Obama’s Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, made $176,461.
The communications staff is an important part of any political office, especially the White House. Julia Hahn started her career at “The Laura Ingraham Show” and Breitbart News before joining the White House working under Steve Bannon. The 29-year-old earns $158,000 in the deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of communications role. In Obama’s White House, Jennifer Psaki was director of communications and she made $174,714 in 2016.
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 worked as acting director of the White House Visitors Office before becoming the director and makes a salary of $106,000 in 2020. Ellie Schafer held that job under Obama and made $116,679 in 2016 for her efforts.
There is a lot 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 $80,000 a year, while another videographer gets paid $72,700. 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.
Trump has three speechwriters listed on staff, two of whom are paid $135,000, which is the highest salary of that set of employees. Brittany Baldwin and Theodore Royer each earn that paycheck for making sure the president has thoughtful remarks to deliver at his many speaking engagements. Obama had nine speechwriters on staff, who ranged in salary from $42,613 to $176,461 per year, as of 2016.
Kathleen M. Porter started as a White House intern in 2019 before moving to her current role. In 2016, Obama’s West Wing receptionist was Leah Katz-Hernandez, and she pulled down $48,000.