In keeping with White House tradition, the Trump administration released a full rundown of its staff’s salaries on July 1. The most surprising fact, for many, was that the difference in salaries between men and women had widened to 20 percent. That’s almost double the Obama administration’s gender pay gap. Now, thanks to American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry, we know that number is actually closer to 37 percent, which is nearly twice the salary differential than originally believed and more than three times what it was just one year ago.
Perry attributes the disparity between that original figure and his own analysis to the impulse to use an “average” salary, whereas the typical metric used for discussing wage gaps is actually “median” salary. This underscores the fact that what was first believed to be a big difference is in fact a really, really big difference. The Obama administration faced relentless criticism for its 10.75 percent gap between female and male staffer salaries in 2016. In Obama’s White House, women made roughly $8,270 less per year than their male counterparts. When it comes to the current White House, however, a 37 percent gap means that women are earning a staggering $42,350 less than men under President Trump. (And, for context, that’s more than double the national average of 17 percent.)
It’s not just the median pay – or average, or whatever metric you’d like to use – that has gotten worse under President Trump’s reign. In his analysis of the reported salaries, Perry found that of the top 101 highest salaries, nearly three out of every four were being paid to a man. This is made even worse when you consider the nearly even (53 percent male, 47 percent female) gender split on the staff. Parsing the numbers, it’s clear that Trump has chosen to fill all the power-heavy roles with men . . . and not with women.
Over the course of the first six months of the Trump administration, many were quick to point to Ivanka Trump as a beacon of hope in the White House. Some believed her very public stance empowering women would cause the president to take a firmer stance on inequality. But we’ve yet to see any indication that she has any positive effect on her father’s policy decisions when it comes to women’s equality. In fact, we’ve actually seen quite the opposite from President Trump: to date he’s repealed workplace protection for women, brought about a massive pay gap in the White House, and has supported the removal of vital women’s healthcare services.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly brought up the subject of wage disparity and even, ironically, brought up the subject on Morning Joe. “If they do the same job, they should get the same pay,” Trump told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Adding, “Joe, I would pay Mika so much more your head would spin.” Both statements, after the span of just a single week, now ring extremely false.