From day one of his campaign, President-elect Donald J. Trump has pledged that he would step away from his business responsibilities. In fact, he said he’s been “phasing out” his participation in the Trump Organization (the name of his companies) since October of 2015.
“Look, I would cut all ties…. I wouldn’t care about it. My kids will run it. I wouldn’t want to expand very much. It wouldn’t matter to me. I have a chance at making America great again; that’s the whole focus.”
But what’s really caught social media’s attention now is Trump’s promise to refuse his Presidential salary.
“The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected President, I’m accepting no salary, okay? That’s not a big deal for me,” the then candidate told the gathered crowd during an event in New Hampshire.
A few days later, Trump held an open Q&A on Twitter where Americans got the chance to ask him questions using the hashtag AskTrump and get a direct response. One user asked:
@realDonaldTrump, will you forgo the presidential salary if elected? #Drump #Election2016 #AskTrump #politics
Despite the presence of the anti-Trump hashtag of #Drump, the Donald responded with this video clip, saying:
I’m totally self funding my campaign. I won’t take money other than the small stuff because people are invested and I like that when they invest in the campaign, but I don’t take the big dollars. As far as the salary is concerned, I won’t take even one dollar — I am totally giving up my salary if I become President.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2015
With a 3.7 billion dollar net worth according to a Forbes investigation, he is by far the wealthiest man to ever take office. However, there are two other Presidents who chose to forgo the salary of the office.
This being the federal government, nothing is ever that simple, as the President must be paid the allotted annual salary, so it will be up to Trump how to pass that money on. When John Fitzgerald Kennedy took office, he was the wealthiest man to have ever been elected and he continued his policy of passing on his salary to charity — something he began as a Congressman.
Herbert Hoover, with an estimated $4 million net worth in 1913 (more than $100,000,000 in today’s dollars) split his salary between various charities and bolstering the incomes of his staffers.
We’ll have to see exactly how Trump chooses to divy out the salary he cannot actually refuse to be paid.