- President Donald Trump’s Cabinet is the wealthiest of recent administrations.
- Populated by former executives, bankers, and public figures, Trump’s cabinet represents some of the most elite groups in the country.
When Trump raised eyebrows by announcing the select group of executives, bankers, and media-made millionaires, he defended his choices as deliberately searching for successful people, likening the future department heads to wealthy athletes.
“I want people that made a fortune because now they’re negotiating with you,” Trump said in December 2016. “It’s not different than a great baseball player or a great golfer.”
Though there have been a bevy of staff changes over the past two years, Trump’s Cabinet has remained full of high earners.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: $US1.1 billion
Both the education secretary and her husband, Amway heir Dick DeVos, hailed from wealthy and powerful Michigan families.
When it comes to all of her assets, the public disclosure form indicated DeVos raked in an income between $US53,962,468 and $US134,894,706 between January 2016 and Spring 2017.
Though the secretary is considered a Level 1 member of the executive branch, and therefore qualified to receive a base pay of $US207,800, DeVos said at her confirmation hearing that she would like to take home a salary of $US1.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: $US506.5 million
Ross spent decades working with a bankruptcy advisory business before starting a private equity firm, WL Ross & Co., in 2000, which he later sold for around $US375 million.
The secretary has been the subject of controversy after insisting, but not being able to prove, that he was worth $US2 billion. He has also faced multiple allegations of referencing phony transactions and embezzling money going back years.
In 2017, Ross’s assets were estimated to be worth between $US326 and $US687 million.
Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin: $US252 million
Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before a stint working with billionaire George Soros, which led to Mnuchin founding his own hedge fund.
His other business interests in recent years include funding movies such as “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “American Sniper.”
In 2017, Mnuchin’s assets were estimated by the New York Times to be valued between $US154 and $US350 million.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer: $US46.1 million
Lighthizer’s 2017 filings showed he had assets worth between $US18.6 million and $US73.6 million.
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows the bulk of Lighthizer’s worth held in over 40 accounts and stocks.
The former lawyer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration and has so far matched Trump’s distaste for trade deals with other countries.
Small Business Administration head Linda E. McMahon: over $US37 million
McMahon is the former CEO of wrestling entertainment company WWE and married to WWE promoter Vince McMahon, who is estimated by Forbes to be worth $US3.1 billion.
Though she owns less than 1% of WWE stock, Forbes reports that her chunk is worth $US37 million.
In 2010, McMahon stepped down from WWE to focus on an ultimately unsuccessful bid for a US Senate seat from Connecticut, on which she spent an estimated $US100 million.
Before she was appointed to the administration, McMahon donated $US7 million to pro-Trump super PACs.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: $US32.1 million
Forbes reports that Perdue’s relatively modest worth, tabulated after he joined the Cabinet, was significantly affected after he transferred between $US11 million and $US40 million worth of assets to his four children.
Perdue also served as the governor of Georgia before he was tapped by Trump.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao: $US29.9 million
Chao, who is married to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, is the daughter of a major shipping company owner and sat on the boards of several major companies, including News Corp. and Wells Fargo, before joining the administration.
The couple inherited the majority share of their wealth from Chao’s late mother.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson: $US15.8 million
Beyond his career as a neurosurgeon, Carson has reportedly earned millions from penning a book, speaking arrangements, and media appearances. He earned up to $US10 million while serving on the boards of Kellogg and Costco before leaving in May 2015 to run for president.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats: $US4.6 million
After a public-service career that included stints in the military, as an ambassador, and congressman, The New York Times estimated in 2017 that Coats had between $US8.7 and $US22.4 million in assets. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics show that Coats is heavily invested in the finance and real estate industries.
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney: $US2.6 million
The Center for Responsive Politics estimated Mulvaney to be worth $US2.6 million in 2015.
However, the former management and budget head’s current worth might exceed this estimate, as his latest financial disclosures reportedly showed Mulvaney was worth between $US3.2 million and $US7.3 million in 2017.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: $US1.6 million
Former presidential hopeful Perry banked more than $US1 million from speeches and consulting gigs after stepping down as Texas governor in 2015.
After his confirmation, Perry resigned from the boards of three oil and gas companies, one of which was charged with developing the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Other administration members are more on-target with the average federal employee.
Other Trump Cabinet members had more typical net-worths. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had an estimated net worth of $US266,510 in 2016, while he was earning $US185,100 in annual salary as CIA director.
After replacing former Exxon executive Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, Pompeo was estimated in 2017 to be worth between $US77,021 and $US456,000, just under the value of assets held by labour head Alex Acosta, which were estimated in 2017 to be worth between $US431,006 and $US965,000.
John Kelly, who departed early in 2019 as White House Chief of Staff, was also on the lower end (financially) of Trump’s Cabinet, estimated in 2017 to be worth between $US181,005 to $US467,000
Source: Business Insider
Vice President Mike Pence: $US2 million
Pence’s 2017 financial filing shows his main source of income was a salary of $US173,860 for serving as governor of Indiana. Pence currently earns $US230,700 as vice president, and is expected to soon get a raise, bringing his salary to $US243,500.
In the same filings, it seems the bulk of his worth comes from an Indiana state government pension plan, valued between $US500,001 and $US1 million.
President Donald Trump: $US3.1 billion
The first billionaire president in American history, Trump built his wealth through decades of deals following in his father’s footsteps, developing construction and real estate projects across Midtown Manhattan.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.