In an interview with 60 Minutes host Lesley Stahl, Trump was asked about his $400,000 presidential salary. The President-elect stated that he wouldn’t be taking it. He said he’ll take a dollar a year.
“Well, I’ve never commented on this, but the answer is no. I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year. I don’t even know what it is. Do you know what the salary is?” he asked the host. “Four hundred thousand [dollars] you’re giving up,” Stahl answered.
Trump replied, “No, I’m not going to take the salary. I’m not taking it.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 14, 2016
In addition to not taking the usual $400,000 salary, President-elect Trump has also pledged not to take long vacations. “There’s just so much to be done,” Trump told Stahl. “So I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations, no.”
The presidential salary isn’t something that can simply be turned down. He has to accept it and be taxed for it.
What he can do is donate the entirety of his paycheck to charity or return it to the Treasury. But he would still have to pay taxes on it, since it would be his income.
However he chooses to handle it, it would be interesting to see how critics in the media will spin it. I think it would mark a significant shift in Washington for him not only to transfer his salary straight back to the Treasury or to charity, but for him to forego big vacations, something that the right has excoriated President Obama for during his tenure. Liberals always replied that it was no different from Bush who also played golf and went on vacations.
Wouldn’t it be weird to have a president who wasn’t always going on golf trips and lavish family vacations, and who donates his presidential salary to charity? I hope he follows through on these promises, if for nothing else to show that he’s not in this for the money.