Grifter Chronicles: Trump Oval Office Staff May Be Most Expensive Ever


Among his first acts in office, Donald Trump raised the pay of top-level advisory staff. As a result, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer are making almost $180,000 a year along with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Alexis Simendinger reports for Real Clear Politics that the star of ‘Celebrity President’ has also hired more advisers than authorized by law, potentially creating the biggest Oval Office payroll in American history.

The president, whose staff structure is notable for competing power centers and opaque lines of authority, named at least 27 “assistants to the president,” according to a White House spokeswoman. After verifying a staff list with a Trump deputy, RealClearPolitics counted 28 senior advisers. Despite repeated questions over several weeks, White House aides did not iron out the discrepancy as of Thursday.

The current legal limit is 25 “assistants.”

Of course, some of Trump’s advisers — most notably his son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Goldman Sachs CEO Gary Cohn — are not accepting salaries for their work. The Intergovernmental Affairs position, which is usually the main interface between the president and the public, also remains vacant.

But ‘Apprentice’ villain Omarosa Manigault is Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison. So is former Jeff Sessions Senate staffer Stephen Miller, Bannon’s white nationalist ally.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s dubious National Security Adviser, is also listed as an assistant to the president along with KT McFarland, the Fox News personality who helps Flynn wrangle Russian-made conspiracy theories. The taxpayer is on the hook for all of them.

Commenting to Real Clear Politics for their story, Sean Spicer made strong representations that Trump takes his responsibility to oversee staff compensation seriously. But let’s face it: Donald will not spend too much time worrying about those details.

According to Politico, which reports today that “the transition from overseeing a family business to running the country has been tough on him,” Trump doesn’t like to dwell on tough subjects.

“When discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to ‘seem in control at all times,'” they say of his policy meetings, quoting an unnamed administration source.

Get that? Donald Trump won’t care if his staff budget is out of control as long as he appears to be in control of his staff. But that’s what we get for electing a malignant narcissist.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore Flickr under Creative Commons license


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