President's salary: Here's what presidents get paid and which presidents have gone without

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The official presidential salary is $400,000 (plus $50,000 for expenses) — money that President-elect Donald Trump has said he will forgo

Trump reiterated the message he delivered on the campaign trail — that he would not accept a presidential salary — during an interview with Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes, which aired Sunday night. 

"Well, I've never commented on this, but the answer is, 'no,'" the president-elect said, according to CBS. "I think I have to by law take $1, so I'll take $1 a year. But it's a — I don't even know what it is."

When Stahl pointed out that he'd be relinquishing $400,000, Trump said, "No, I'm not going to take the salary. I'm not taking it."

While campaigning in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Sept. 17, 2015, then-candidate Trump vowed to not to take any compensation were he to be elected president. 

"The first thing I'm going to do is tell you that if I'm elected president, I'm accepting no salary," he said at the rally. "Okay? That's not a big deal for me."

Source: YouTube

A few days later, on Sept. 21, 2015 — while taking questions on Twitter with the hashtag #AskTrump — he responded via video to someone's question regarding the presidential salary. 

"As far as the salary is concerned, I wont take even $1," he said. "I'm totally giving up my salary if I become president."

There is certainly evidence Trump does not need the money: Forbes estimated in September that Trump's net worth is $3.7 billion. (Plus, there's the alleged tax documents leaked to the New York Times that, if genuine, suggest Trump might not have paid income tax for nearly 20 years.)

If Trump does follow through on his promise, he will not be alone. Other presidents have forgone salaries, too: President John F. Kennedy (1961 to 1963) had the largest family wealth in presidential history and gave the entirety of his salary to charity, for example, while President Herbert Hoover (1929 to 1933) dispersed his salary among charities and additional income for his team. 

President Barack Obama has been taking the presidential salary, but through investments and other sources of income — his book royalties, for example — his total income has been higher at various points. In 2011, for example, Obama and the first lady reported income of nearly $790,000, though that figure dropped to $436,000 for 2015.

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Natasha Noman

Natasha is a News Staff Writer covering global affairs. She previously reported on regional affairs from Pakistan. Natasha is based in New York and can be reached at natasha@mic.com.

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