Who would have thought that the First Lady of the United States could save taxpayer money?
Fox News reported that Melania Trump is doing just that — by using a leaner staff than her predecessor, Michelle Obama. According to Fox, Melania’s staff consists of only nine employees, in contrast to Obama’s twenty-four.
“It is important to her that the team is a good fit for what she wants to accomplish as first lady, and that everyone works well together,” Communications Director Stephanie Grisham told Fox News in an email. “She also wants to be mindful and responsible when it comes to taxpayer money.”
While Melania Trump is becoming more active as first lady, she is doing so with a much leaner staff than many others in her positions. A Fox News analysis of White House personnel reports shows that Melania made significant reductions in the number of aides serving the first lady in comparison to Michelle Obama.
During Former President Barack Obama’s first year, Michelle Obama had sixteen people working for her. Combined, their salaries totaled $1.24 million per year. As of June of this year, only four aides were listed as working for Melania Trump — their salaries totaling $486,700.
These details come from an annual report that the White House gives to Congress. It shows the names, positions, and salaries of each member of its staff. Analysts have noted that Michelle Obama’s staff broke records — she employed six more staffers than her predecessor, Laura Bush.
The reports show that Melania Trump’s staff includes a chief of staff, a communications director, a deputy director of advance, and a deputy chief of staff. Michelle Obama’s staff had those same positions and more — press aides, a director of policy and projects, a personal aide, traveling aide, and a director of correspondence.
One of the reasons why Michelle Obama may have had a larger staff is because she entered the White House with a more aggressive agenda, including initiatives such as the infamous Let’s Move! Child obesity campaign. Melania did not move into the White House until later in the year, choosing to remain in New York while her son, Barron, finished his school year.
However, after arriving to the White House, Melania has stepped up her activity. She hosted a roundtable discussion addressing the opioid crisis, traveled with President Trump to survey the areas affected by the recent hurricanes, and also to Las Vegas to meet with victims of the shooting at the Jason Aldean concert.
The former first lady’s spending was out of control. Do you agree?
Andrew Och, a first lady historian, described Melania as being “more like a Pat Nixon or a Bess Truman than a Hillary Clinton or a Michelle Obama.” Och was one of the producers of C-SPAN’s “First Ladies: Influence & Image” series.
It will be interesting to see what Melania Trump accomplishes while she is first lady. Others who have occupied that position have maintained quieter roles in the White House. It doesn’t appear that Melania intends to follow their example.