Melania Trump has significantly reduced the number of aides on the first lady’s office payroll in comparison to her predecessor, Michelle Obama.
During then-President Barack Obama’s first year in office, 16 people were listed working for Michelle Obama, earning a combined $1.24 million a year.
This year, just four people were listed working for Melania Trump as of June. Their salaries totaled $486,700.
The details are contained in an annual report the White House sends to Congress showing the names, positions and salaries of all its personnel. Both the Obama and Trump administrations acknowledged several additional staffers beyond those listed in the report with the term “first lady” in their titles. But even counting all those employees — 24 for Michelle Obama and nine for the current first lady — Melania Trump’s office is relatively small.
It’s an approach her spokeswoman says is intentional.
“As with all things that she does, she is being very deliberate in her hiring, focusing on quality over quantity,” communications director Stephanie Grisham said in an email. “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. She also wants to be mindful and responsible when it comes to taxpayer money.”