Michelle Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. How things have changed! Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War, and Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.
If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit packages these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bills for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public. Here’s the list of Michelle O’s staff and their annual salaries:
- Susan Sher, Chief of Staff, $172,200.
- Jocelyn C. Frye, Dep. Assistant to the President & Director of Policy & Projects for the First Lady, $140,000.
- Desiree G. Rogers, Special Assistant to the President & White House Social Secretary, $113,000.
- Camille Y. Johnston, Special Assistant to the President & Director of Communications for the First Lady, $102,000.
- Melissa E. Winter, Special Assistant to the President & Dep. Chief of Staff to the First Lady, salary unknown.
- David S. Medina, Dep. Chief of Staff to the First Lady, $90,000
- Catherine M. Lelyveld, Director & Press Secretary to the First Lady, $84,000.
- Frances M. Starkey, Dir. of Scheduling & Advance for the First Lady, $75,000.
- Trooper Sanders, Dep. Dir. of Policy & Projects for the First Lady, $70,000.
- Erinn J. Burnough, Dep. Dir. & Dep. Social Secretary, $65,000.
- Joseph B. Reinstein, Dep. Dir. & Dep. Social Secretary, salary unknown.
- Jennifer R. Goodman, Dep. Dir. of Scheduling & Events Coordinator for the First Lady, $62,000.
- Alan O. Fitts, Dep. Dir. of Advance & Trip Director for the First Lady, $60,000.
- Dana M. Lewis, Special Assistant & Personal Aide to the First Lady, salary unknown.
- Semonti M. Mustaphi, Associate Dir. & Dep. Press Secretary to the First Lady, $52,500.
- Kristen E. Jarvis, Special Assistant for Scheduling & Traveling Aide to the First Lady, $50,000.
- Tyler A. Lechtenberg, Assoc. Dir. of Correspondence for the First Lady, $45,000.
- Samantha Tubman, Dep. Assoc. Dir., Social Office, salary unknown.
- Joseph J. Boswell, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff to the First Lady, $40,000.
- Sally M. Armbruster, Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary, $36,000.
- Natalie Bookey, Staff Assistant, salary unknown.
- Deilia A. Jackson, Dep. Assoc. Dir. of Correspondence for the First Lady, salary unknown.
[By my count, taxpayers are paying a minimum of $1,256,700 a year in salary to Queen Michelle's staff of 22. The real total is higher, because we do not know the salaries of 6 of the 22. - Ed.]
The above list also does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49; and “First Hairstylist” Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom traveled abroad Air Force One to Europe.
UPDATE (Sept. 6, 2011):
From St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact.com, March 4, 2011:
Myra Gutin, an expert on first ladies and politics at Rider University in New Jersey, said that as of 2009, Michelle Obama had 22 people on her staff. Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama, told us via e-mail that Michelle Obama’s staff is now closer to 25 people.
According to an Associated Press story on October 6, 2009, Laura Bush had a staff of between 24 and 26 by the end of President George W. Bush’s term in 2009, citing Anita McBride, Laura Bush’s chief of staff.
And according to the Clinton Presidential Library, the size of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s staff fluctuated from 13 in October 1993 to 19 by March 2000, the AP story said.
According to Sheila Tate, former press secretary to Nancy Reagan, there were 15 people on First Lady Nancy Reagan’s staff.
According to Wikipedia:
First Lady Caroline Harrison could be widely considered to be the first First Lady to have a staff, whose niece served as social secretary. Florence Harding had a “funded staff”, a social secretary and an assistant. Eleanor Roosevelt had a staff of only two.