The Pay Gap at the White House Has Tripled Under Donald Trump

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

According to a report from the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, the gender pay gap in the Trump White House has more than tripled. AEI found that when the median of pay among White House staffers was taken into account, “the typical female staffer earned 63.2 cents per $1 earned by a typical male staffer.”

On Friday, the White House released its annual salary report as required by Congress. Numerous media outlets reported from those numbers that the gender pay gap in the Trump White House was roughly 20 percent. For example, when Roll Call reported on the salary gap, it found that women in the White House made 80 cents to a man’s dollar by looking at the average salaries (a woman averages $84,500 where men earn on average $105,000). But, as the AEI report notes, when the median is considered rather than the average, the gender pay gap intensifies. At the median, women in the Trump White House earn $72,648 and men earn $115,000. That median point, AEI argues, “reflect[s] what a typical female staffer at the White House is paid compared to what a typical male staffer is paid.” All of the reports exclude unpaid staffers like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

To be clear here, AEI has long argued that the median is more important than the average when looking at salaries according to gender. The think tank—again very conservative—rejects that the overall pay gap between American women and men is 77 cents to the dollar and has little to say about the widening of the pay gap when race is taken into consideration. Instead, the think tank treats that gap as the result of the kind of work women take—lower paying jobs focused on service or care—as though gender and race weren’t part and parcel of those results. So it’s worth remembering that their correction here is ideologically motivated.


But still, both the average and the median offer an even further indictment of the president’s disregard for women. As Roll Call noted in their report, six of the White House’s top earners (those making the maximum of $179,700) are women, including Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, and Hope Hicks. Sixteen of those top earners, however, are men, including Steve Bannon. The gender imbalance isn’t particularly surprising and, frankly, gender parity is no solution to the ills of the Trump White House. A thousand more Kellyanne Conways wouldn’t do anything.

Rather, the sizable gender wage gap is just another footnote in the thousands of books on gender under the Trump administration that are sure to be written. As the Washington Post notes, the president has rolled back fair pay regulations enacted during the Obama era but otherwise has “not made the issue a focus of his presidency.” I suppose I should say something here about Ivanka Trump’s championing of working women, but I can’t bring myself to type the words.

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Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

I know this doesn’t exactly apply to this story, but it’s been gnawing at me all weekend. I went to a friends house for an early fourth party and got roped into a political conversation with a conservative couple (friend of a friend type). It, of course, turned ugly very quickly. I wanted their honest thoughts on how they could still support Trump, politics aside, Hillary aside, just from his behavior he is denigrating the office he holds and embarrassing this country. I got a lot of “blah blah taxes..blah blah black lives matter are the REAL racists...blah blah all liberals think they are victims.” I told them from my perspective, this presidency is having a true effect on me: I am stressed and anxious every day. I get terrible stress headaches every single day. Their response was: “God you’re dramatic. Have you tried caring about other things? What has he done that affects you personally? Get over it.” At one point, I said I just have such a hard time with Trump’s attitude an behavior towards women. The husband lashed out and went on a tirade about how women want to be equal but play the victim card and what do you even care, you’ve never been raped. The thing is, I have been raped. I’ve never shared it with anyone. I tried to back out of the conversation at that point because I knew I would be too upset to continue but it was one of those things where you are stuck. I later crawled into my friend’s bed and cried. She was sweet and comforting and thought I was just getting worked up because I care so much about politics. I spent the next two days utterly depressed. I literally couldn’t move at all on Monday. Ugh I guess the point of all of this is that I feel just kind of at the end of all of this. People who still support him are a lost cause, nothing is ever going to get better. I’m tired.