Here’s What Really Happens Inside The White House Kitchen – And The Bizarre Rules Chefs Must Obey

Working as a chef at the White House is obviously an incredibly prestigious job. But it’s far from easy. Not only is the place pretty chaotic, but the cooks must also meet the highest possible standards. And to ensure that the top dog and his team are chowing down on nothing but the best, there are a bunch of strict rules that the kitchen staff must follow.

20. You’re always on call

Just like the doctors in the ER, a White House cook must be available at pretty much every hour of the day. Former pastry chef Bill Yosses confirmed as much in February 2020. He told HuffPost, “In theory, we were working 24/7.” And even though you’re probably imagining the president tucking into a midnight feast in his pajamas, there are actually more official reasons for this.

Yosses, who worked in the White House from 2006 to 2014, went on to explain why the chefs have to be available all of the time. “There could be a national emergency, and the people involved have to get up at 3:00 a.m. and handle a crisis.” So, while these top White House employees may not be hungry then, the kitchen staff have to be prepared just in case.

19. Be in the right kitchen

It seems that one kitchen just isn’t enough in the White House. Instead, there are three. First, you have the principal kitchen. Then there’s another that’s dedicated solely to making pastry, desserts and sweet treats. Plus, the First Family also have a place where they can prepare and cook their own food. After all, everyone enjoys a spot of baking every now and again, don’t they?

18. Strange food could be on the menu

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Presidents can order pretty much whatever food they want – even if it is a tad weird. Take Richard Nixon, for instance, who used to ask for cottage cheese slathered in ketchup. He ate the dairy product because he thought that it was good for him, you see, but apparently wasn’t partial to how it tasted. And George Bush used to request a dish that’s even more unhealthy: cheeseburger pizza. Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like: a burger and cheese on top of a pizza base. He obviously wasn’t counting the calories.

Meanwhile, according to former chef Roland Mesnier’s 2007 memoir, All the Presidents’ Pastries, Bill Clinton enjoyed an “atrocious concoction of Coca-Cola-flavored jelly served with black glacé cherries.” But even this is nothing compared to what presidents of yore liked to eat. James Garfield, for one, enjoyed squirrel stew, which would have been normal back then but is pretty unheard of now.

17. Chefs answer to the First Lady

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It’s the First Lady who hires the executive chef of the White House – not the president. That means they can fire them at will, too. In 2005 then-First Lady Laura Bush dismissed her head chef Walter Scheib after he’d worked at the White House for 11 years. And, of course, that news inevitably made headlines.

First Ladies also get to make the rules about their husbands’ eating habits. In October 2019 former pastry chef Roland Mesnier told ABC7’s Victoria Sanchez, “President Reagan loved chocolate, but Mrs. Reagan told me never to give him chocolate.” That didn’t stop Mesnier from quietly slipping some of the sweet stuff to the president, though.

16. It’s handy to be ex-military

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In 2020 HuffPost interviewed a few of the former White House kitchen staff. And it was revealed that team members tend either to be from a more traditional restaurant background or from the military. Bill Yosses elaborated on which part of the army the cooks are likely to have come from, too. He said, “The military chefs are often Navy/Coast Guard, but there are also a few from the Army and Air Force.” Yosses added, “They’re very much unsung heroes in America.”

One ex-military guy is Andre Rush, whose photo went viral after he was spotted flashing his massive biceps while cooking meat. “Chef Rush has become a little meme now. It’s hilarious. I get a kick out of them,” the man himself told Food & Wine magazine in 2019. His nickname in the kitchens? Tiny, of course.

15. State dinners must go smoothly

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State dinners at the White House are very, very important events. They take place when another head of state visits America, after all, and so a grand meal is put on as a welcoming gesture. If anything goes wrong, then, it could be a diplomatic disaster. And needless to say, the staff in the kitchen are put under a lot of pressure to get everything spot on.

The First Lady picks out a meal that consists of at least four courses, and it’s up to the chefs to cook it to perfection. Apparently, they’re under a strict time limit throughout the whole event, too, as all courses must be served in under an hour from start to finish. “The dinners are a lot of pressure. We can have ten people doing one little course,” Rush told HuffPost in 2020.

14. Don’t expect overtime pay

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Despite having to endure long working hours and stressful functions, the executive chef at the White House isn’t actually paid all that much. Sure, you get the prestige, but the cash earned doesn’t really stretch to cover the extra hours of work. And with that in mind, the job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, after Laura Bush fired Walter Scheib, The New York Times reported that she was having difficulty replacing him. Apparently, it was all down to the salary on offer.

But the position was filled in August 2005 by Cristeta Comerford, the first-ever woman to hold the job of executive chef. While reporting on her appointment, The New York Times pointed out that salary issue again, explaining, “The pay – $80,000 to $100,000 a year with no overtime – for what is essentially a private family chef who occasionally has an opportunity to show off at a state dinner is well below what top-level chefs can earn on the outside.”

13. Yes, you can make beer

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In 2011 Barack Obama became the first-ever sitting president to make beer at the White House. And, yes, these were the brewskis he then handed out to people while on the campaign trail. Obama’s partner in this presidential micro-brewery was Sam Kass, a one-time White House chef and senior adviser for nutrition policy. Kass gave an interview to Smithsonian, too, shedding light on why the president had decided to take part in such a hobby.

Speaking in 2017, Kass said, “There’s been a transformation in beer culture over the last 15 years. Not only are there thousands of small breweries popping up all over the country, but people are [also] brewing beer in their basements all over the place. And I just thought it would be great to join in that sort of great American tradition — or a budding tradition, anyway — and brew some of our own beer.”

12. Presidents can order anything at the touch of a button

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The lucky folks who have seen inside the Oval Office will probably have noticed the little red button that sits on the main desk. Contrary to popular belief, though, this doesn’t launch a nuclear attack. Luckily, there are a few rather more complex steps to go through before that ever happens. It’s instead for the much more pleasant task of summoning food and drink. Phew!

And thanks to billionaire Richard Branson, we all now know how Obama made use of this button. In his 2017 book Losing My Virginity, Branson recalled, “I noticed the red buttons on [the president’s] desk. Obama saw me looking at them. He said, ‘They used to be there for emergencies, but now I use them for ordering tea for my guests.’”

11. You need to make a gingerbread house

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Ever since 1972, the White House chefs have had to create a gingerbread house at Christmas time. And pastry chef Susan Morrison spoke about this to Oprah Winfrey’s magazine O in 2016. “I spend all year thinking about the White House gingerbread house, but we don’t begin baking until November,” she said.

Morrison went on, “Then, for about four days after Thanksgiving, we work tirelessly to build the house before moving it to the State Dining Room, where more than 60,000 guests will cycle through. And it has to look as perfect as it did on day one — which means it can’t melt, it can’t be affected by humidity and it can’t be touched!”

10. There are things that the staff can’t talk about

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Before Cristeta Comerford became executive chef, she was the White House assistant chef. Oddly enough, though, she wasn’t allowed to talk to the media about her potential promotion. So, when Comerford’s name was in the hat for the top job in 2005, The New York Times struck out when it attempted to get a quote from her. She simply told the newspaper, “You know the rules of the house.”

After her appointment, though, Comerford became more forthcoming in interviews. She’s opened up about her role, has detailed some of her most memorable experiences in the kitchen and has even shared some of her favorite recipes. So, it seems that the hiring process is just one system the White House would rather keep under wraps – and no, not the tortilla kind.

9. You need to have security clearance

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Obviously, it’s pretty vital that the White House chefs are subject to security checks. Walter Scheib explained it all to Vice magazine in 2015. “The clearance that you have when you’re working in the White House is called Top Secret Presidential Proximity,” he said. “The ‘presidential proximity’ part means that you can be in close physical contact with the president and the First Family with no Secret Service around you.”

Scheib went on, “In terms of the few of us that are in the kitchen who have that clearance, if you think about it, we’re not just around outside and next to the president; we’re physically inside of him. You really couldn’t get any closer to that. In a way, you may be one of the singularly most trusted people in the whole country.”

8. You need to work hard on January 20

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January 20 is always the day when the current U.S. president moves out to allow a new one to assume office. And as you would imagine, it’s an incredibly chaotic time for the White House chefs – all the household staff, for that matter. Until midday, they bring food and drink to the existing president. But after that, it all changes. They have a mere six hours to clean out the kitchen and rearrange it according to the new First Family’s wishes.

7. The President can refuse certain foods

President George H.W. Bush famously hated one vegetable. “I do not like broccoli,” he announced to U.S. News and World Report in 1990. “And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”

The message, then, was quite clear: no one was to serve Bush broccoli in either the White House or on Air Force One. And that wasn’t all he refused. In a 2011 C-SPAN show called Conversation with White House Chefs, former staff member Pierre Chambrin remembered, “I served [Bush] some Brussels sprouts. And he told the butler, ‘Tell Pierre never to serve that to me again.’”

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6. It’s difficult to get a White House chef job

The White House doesn’t advertise for jobs in the traditional way. If you want to work as a chef in the kitchen, then, you’d better know someone on the inside. And in some cases, White House employees have passed their skills down to their own children who then take up the job themselves. It’s true what they say: it’s not what you know but who you know.

Still, if you’re really lucky, there’s a chance you could be head-hunted. Henry Haller, who was the executive chef at the White House from 1966 to 1987, was hand-picked by President Lyndon B. Johnson himself. In 2015 his wife, Carol, told the AUI Fine Foods website what it was like at the time. “There was a security clearance after [Henry] was hired. We saw guys in black suits walking around the neighborhood asking questions about us,” she said.

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Chef Susan Morrison didn’t actually apply for her job, either. In 2016 she told O, “In 1995 I was working at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, in McLean, Virginia, when I was called in to meet with the White House’s then-executive pastry chef. He was looking for a contractor but refused to learn about candidates from their résumé. He put me to work for two days.” She succeeded and rose up the ranks.

5. Chefs must consider religious and cultural requirements

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Martin Mongiello was a White House executive chef for almost 30 years, and in May 2019 he spoke to the radio news magazine show WGLT’s Sound Ideas about what happened when dignitaries from abroad arrived to see the president. He said that in those cases, the menu would be “half American food and half from the visiting country.” Sounds clever, right? But it also seems like it can be a bit of a puzzle…

Mongiello went on, “You have to be able to control your minds and your hands. You’re cooking for Muslim special requests, you have kosher meals that need to be served that night. You may have any different number of a dozen different kinds of diets. It’s a bit challenging in that regard, but there certainly isn’t any room for attitude.”

4. Easter eggs are very important

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One of the most entertaining dates in the White House social calendar is the Easter Egg Roll. Kids are invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to take part in various activities, including a race where they push Easter eggs along with spoons. Who’s responsible for making all those eggs? The kitchen staff, of course.

The chefs of the White House kitchen have to boil and dye more than 14,000 eggs for the day. By hand! It’s hard work — but at least it keeps the children happy. The Easter Egg Roll’s considered a very exciting occasion for the people who attend, and the high demand for places means that lotteries to get tickets only stay open for three days.

3. All food is screened but not tasted

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Former White House chef Walter Scheib has had plenty to say about the safety of White House food over the years. In 2013, not long after a rumor arose about President Obama having a person taste his food for him, Stein firmly told Washingtonian magazine, “There is no presidential food taster.”

Scheib went on, “Nothing gets to the president that hasn’t fallen under somebody’s jurisdiction. If the president is just grabbing a pretzel randomly at the table, it’s been screened.” To the best of his knowledge, foreign dignitaries also didn’t employ food tasters, Scheib said. And that’s because the White House was a “secure facility.”

2. Rules don’t always apply

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During the Prohibition era, alcohol was naturally very hard to get your hands on. Unless, of course, you happened to be the president. The 29th leader of the United States, Warren G. Harding, actually voted in favor of Prohibition, but that didn’t stop him from throwing booze-fueled wild parties in the White House. It’s alright for some!

The White House staff who were around at the time witnessed Harding happily knocking back liquor at a time when practically no one else could. But there probably wasn’t a lot they could say about it. There was a loophole in the law, anyway. It wasn’t illegal to drink alcohol, just to make, sell or transport it.

1. The First Family pays for the food

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A lot of food goes through the White House kitchens, but it’s the president and his family who shell out for it. Yes, ever since the 19th century and President John Adams, the occupants of the White House must buy their own meals. It’s only for official government functions that the taxpayer has to contribute.

Michelle Obama spoke about this while on Jimmy Kimmel Live in November 2018. She joked that while the White House staff would happily bring her whatever exotic fruit she requested, they didn’t mention the price. “Then you get the bill for a peach, and you’re like, ‘That was a $500 peach!’” she laughed.

But while the chefs’ role is important, the 420 people who work for the current White House administration are perhaps more crucial to the running of the country. And their pay seems to reflect that increased responsibility. Excluding the president and vice-president, these 40 people are among the highest-paid employees of the White House right now, according to official data from June 2019. And spoiler alert: the top three all share the same first name.

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40. Leslie A. Ford

In February 2019 the White House announced, “Leslie A. Ford will serve as special assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. Ms. Ford previously served as associate director in the Domestic Policy Council.” Among her responsibilities, it’s been reported, is work on Medicaid, and for her pains she gets a not-too-shabby salary of $106,000.

39. Cassidy Dumbauld

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Cassidy Dumbauld is the director of the Office of the Senior Advisor – which means that she works for Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And according to the record, she, too, makes $106,000 a year. However, Dumbauld’s relationship with fellow Trump staffer Nick Luna has definitely been the subject of more media chatter than her paycheck.

38. Hayley D’Antuono

Before moving on, Hayley D’Antuono worked for Republican former congressman John Ratcliffe as his office manager. And it appeared that she was an asset, as in 2017 Ratcliffe posted a goodbye message to her on Facebook, saying, “She’s starting tomorrow working for First Lady Melania Trump, who I know will be very lucky to have her.” Currently, D’Antuono is the director of operations for the Office of the First Lady, making $106,000 a year.

37. Kevin Garvey

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If you simply Google Kevin Garvey’s name, you’ll see results for Justin Theroux’s police chief character from the popular HBO TV show The Leftovers. However, the real Garvey actually served as deputy associate counsel to the President – which, in 2019, earned him $110,000 a year – and has since progressed to Chief of Staff to the U.S. Trade Representative.

36. Stewart Barber Young

Stewart Barber Young – who happens to be the older sister of Fox News correspondent Ellison Barber – works for Ivanka Trump as the head of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. And, naturally, she’s paid accordingly, with a salary that comes in at a cool $120,000.

35. Theodore Wold

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Theodore Wold was appointed as special assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in 2018, and now he earns $120,000 a year. More specifically, Wold works under Jared Kushner and handles systems that have to do with immigration and the promotion of the president’s planned border wall.

34. Alexander Willette

Alexander Reginald Willette made political history when he became the youngest member of legislative leadership in the United States. That was back in 2010, and a decade on he’s risen to become the deputy director of Political Affairs for Outreach. How much does he earn? A pretty impressive $120,000 a year.

33. Susan Varga

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Back in the 1990s, Susan Varga was an employee at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia – the multimedia empire owned by America’s favorite lifestyle guru. And in a way, not much has changed, as now she works for another former television personality as the Director of the National Economic Council. For that role, her salary is $120,000.

32. Alec Sugarman

Sometimes, the line between show business and politics is a thin one, and Alec Sugarman is a case in point. That’s because the man known as “AJ” is the son of Entertainment Tonight presenter Mary Hart and television producer Burt Sugarman. In the White House, the younger Sugarman is special assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and he makes a not-to-be-sniffed-at $120,000 per year.

31. Alexandra Stone

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On September 6, 2018, the White House made the announcement, “Alexandra E. Stone will serve as special assistant to the President and director of the White House Management Office. Ms. Stone previously served as deputy director of Finance and Travel Lead.” And in her current position, she’s been given a salary of $120,000.

30. Gregory L. Smith

Gregory L. Smith currently holds the role of deputy director of Political Affairs for Policy and Personnel. And according to ProPublica, he’s lobbied for Native Americans, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. Smith is also said to earn a more than respectable $120,000.

29. James Sherk

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James Sherk earns $120,000 a year as special assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. But controversy hasn’t entirely eluded him. In 2019, you see, Politico revealed a 2017 memo by Sherk that, according to the site, “encouraged President Donald Trump to eliminate all job protections for federal workers and a requirement that federal contractors provide paid sick leave for employees.” The White House staffer refused to comment on the article, however.

28. James Sapp

James Sapp appears to live a rather private life. At the very least, he seems to have no Twitter account – which definitely can’t be said of the man in the Oval Office. It is known, though, that Sapp’s the associate director of Presidential Personnel, and in 2019 he was revealed to make $120,000 per year.

27. Theodore Royer

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Like any president, Donald Trump has help writing the addresses he makes at important events. And one of the people currently employed to polish the commander-in-chief’s words is Theodore Royer, whose full job title is special assistant to the President and speechwriter. He’s had a pay bump, too. At first, his salary was reported as $115,000; now, though, it’s gone up to $120,000.

26. David Planning

In May 2019 Politico reported, “David Planning is leaving the House Financial Services Committee, where he was director of coalitions and member services, for the White House leg affairs team. He’ll be special assistant to the President for legislative affairs.” In his new role, Planning makes $120,000 per year.

25. Caroline Moore

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Prior to joining the Trump White House, Caroline Moore worked as an economic researcher and as director of alumni relations at The Federalist Society. It’s safe to assume, then, that she was paid well, and that’s also the case in her job as director of the Office of the Chief of Staff – where she has a $120,000 salary.

24. Molly Michael

Molly A. Michael works as one of the Oval Office Operations staff – a group of people who manage Trump’s schedule and engagements. She’s just one of two people in the department at present, in fact, alongside Nicholas Luna. And as special assistant to the President and operations coordinator, she earns $120,000 a year.

23. Theo Merkel

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Once the primary healthcare staffer for Senator Pat Toomey, Theo Merkel replaced Donald Trump’s White House special assistant Brian Blase in June 2019. In January 2020 Merkel made waves, too, when he wrote an article for CNN entitled “Trump’s efforts to make medical prices transparent are good for America.” Since he has a salary of $120,000, though, he probably has less to worry about in that area than most.

22. Meghan McCann

In 2017 Meghan McCann’s job title appeared to be “West Wing Receptionist,” while her salary was $56,000 – lower than a lot of federal agency employees. But things have changed. Since then, she’s become associate director of Presidential Personnel, making a cool $120,000 per year.

21. Jane Lucas

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Equipped with a law degree from Georgetown University, Jane Lucas once worked as the legislative correspondent, legislative assistant and Health Policy counsel for the office of Senator John Thune. After this she moved on, however, to become a special assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and for that role she earned $120,000 before taxes.

20. Matt Lira

Back in 2014, digital economy expert Matt Lira was the deputy executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He’s moved jobs in the interim, however, and commands a salary of $120,000 as a special assistant to the President for Innovation Policy and Initiatives. He also has a Twitter account, which perhaps unsurprisingly retweets the official White House one.

19. Alex Latcham

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Drake University alumnus Alex Latcham was part of the election teams of both Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann before becoming the deputy director of Political Affairs for Outreach. And while in 2017 his yearly pay was reportedly $89,000 – higher than the average salary for government employees – now it’s even better at $120,000.

18. Rebekah Jurata

On the official White House report, Rebekah Jurata is listed as earning $120,000 per year in her capacity as special assistant to the President for Economic Policy. But she may actually be making more than that now. In October 2019, you see, she joined the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and for that role she’ll reportedly be paid an astonishing $500,000 annually.

17. Thomas Joannou

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Thomas Joannou wanted to be a baseball star before he got a job in the White House. When things slumped for him, though, he took a chance and applied for a job with Trump’s administration. And from humble beginnings as an intern, Joannou worked his way up the ranks to become a special assistant to the Senior Counselor and the President. He also makes $120,000 a year – which should get him into a lot of baseball games.

16. William Harrison

As you may know, William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States – albeit for a mere 31 days. He still holds the record for the shortest ever tenure of a U.S. president, in fact. But, today, another William Harrison serves as Trump’s special assistant for Operations. And since he’s on $120,000 per year, it’s safe to say that he’s had better luck than his namesake.

15. Arthur Harding

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Arthur Harding works in the Office of the First Lady, which is part of the White House Office. And, at present, he holds the position of director of Policy, which pays a perfectly acceptable $120,000 per annum.

14. Julia Hahn

Before getting a job at the White House, media pro Julia Hahn worked for Breitbart News. That seems like a logical move, as the controversial right-leaning website has been a famous cheerleader for President Trump. Specifically, Hahn is the director of Surrogate and Coalition Communications, making $120,000 a year.

13. James Goyer

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Having previously been a legislative assistant, James Goyer was made special assistant to the President for External Affairs in February 2018. With this came a salary of $95,000 per year. But in 2019 his job title was changed: now, he’s the deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison. Oh, and his salary was upped to $120,000 – not too bad.

12. Madeleine Westerhout

Up until August 2019, Madeleine Westerhout was the director of Oval Office Operations earning an impressive $145,000 per year. Ultimately, though, she was fired for the cardinal sin of discussing Trump’s personal life with reporters. According to Politico, Westerhout told reporters at a dinner that the president didn’t want to be photographed with his daughter Tiffany as she was overweight. Ouch.

11. David Kalbaugh

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Executive clerk David Kalbaugh is the man responsible for reviewing the various documents and orders sent between the president and Congress. And while senators may not like seeing what he sends on to them, they shouldn’t shoot the messenger. Currently, Kalbaugh enjoys a salary of $165,417 per year.

10. Emma Doyle

Without doubt, Emma Doyle is a political veteran. Previously, she was a legislative assistant to Senator Pat Toomey before going on to become chief of staff to Mick Mulvaney. Now, under the Trump administration, she’s bagged one of the most important jobs going: principal deputy chief of staff. And she’s remunerated accordingly, with a $183,000-a-year paycheck.

9. Pat Cipollone

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Pasquale “Pat” Cipollone – the child of an Italian factory worker – was given the job of White House Counsel in 2018. His face may be familiar, too, as he’s the guy who defended Donald Trump during the impeachment inquiry of 2019. And for his legal efforts, he’s earning $183,000 a year.

8. Brooke Rollins

Brooke Rollins was not only the first woman to be elected as student body president at Texas A&M University, but also the first to speak at one of the college’s ceremonies. Now she’s assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives, getting paid $183,000 a year. And, interestingly, she’s the one who helped pass the First Step Act to reform prisons.

7. Mercedes Schlapp

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Before being hired at the White House, former media commentator Mercedes Schlapp made several statements that were very critical of the president. Yes, in a 2015 column for U.S. News & World Report, Schlapp called Trump’s inflammatory approach on the campaign trail both “short-sighted” and “harmful to the Republican party.” But the tables have turned: now she’s the president’s director of Strategic Communications, and for this she’s paid $183,000 per year.

6. Stephanie Grisham

Stephanie Grisham holds the dubious honor of being the first White House press secretary to not hold any press conferences. And her decision to instead engage in interviews for largely conservative-leaning media outlets drew criticism from 13 former White House secretaries, who in 2020 signed a letter demanding that Grisham change her stance. At the time, she was being paid $183,000 per year. Since then, though, she’s been moved to the East Wing as Melania Trump’s chief of staff.

5. Kellyanne Conway

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Famously, Kellyanne Conway – Trump’s senior counselor up until August 2020 – is the woman who gave the world the phrase “alternative facts.” And, needless to say, she was strongly criticized for it. Before leaving her position, however, she made a hugely impressive $183,000 a year. Maybe, then, the furor was all worth it.

4. Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller was responsible for writing a portion of Trump’s inaugural address, and he currently serves as the president’s senior advisor. That’s despite the fact that, in 2019, he was caught up in a controversy that could have ended a less important staffer’s White House career. Miller was raked over the coals in the media for emails that he sent to a Breitbart journalist, with these allegedly warning of the dangers of immigration. The messages were also said to have put forward conspiracy theories, and commentators lined up to claim that he was a “quiet extremist.” In any case, Miller retained his role, and apparently he earns $183,000 per year.

3. John Bolton

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Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has been labeled, among other things, a “foreign policy hawk,” an “American nationalist” and a “neoconservative” – although he rejects that last label. And as assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Bolton was on $183,000 a year before getting his pink slip in September 2019. In the aftermath, he claimed alternatively that he’d actually resigned.

2. John “Mick” Mulvaney

John Mulvaney, who goes by his nickname of Mick, was the acting chief of staff of Trump’s administration. In 2020, though, he was fired by his boss and replaced with Republican Congressman Mark Meadows. Still, Mulvaney’s last known salary was $203,500, so maybe that at least will console him.

1. John Czwartacki

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John Czwartacki is the highest-paid member of the White House staff, earning $239,595 per year. That’s more than most of the staff members, whose salaries are capped at $183,000. Why does he make so much? Well, he’s actually on detail from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And, officially, Czwartacki’s the senior advisor to the Chief of Staff for Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement.

Of course, all of those people know the White House well. But what’s it actually like to be a resident of the famous mansion? Pretty cushy, you may think, although life there isn’t always a dream. There are the supposed ghosts to contend with, for one…

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