Trump takes victory lap after strong GDP report, predicts 'we're going to go a lot higher'

  • At a news conference Friday, President Donald Trump said he expected the US economy to grow even faster in the second half the year. 
  • A report released earlier showed that in the second quarter, gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a 4.1% annual rate, the fastest since 2014
  • "These numbers are very, very sustainable," Trump said, countering the opinion of many economists that growth at this pace will not last. 

President Donald Trump said Friday that the US economy is likely to accelerate even faster later this year, following a report that showed the strongest growth in nearly four years. 

The Commerce Department had earlier reported that gross domestic product (GDP), the total value of goods and services produced in the US, increased at an annual pace of 4.1%, the highest since 2014. 

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How much money President Trump’s staff makes
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How much money President Trump’s staff makes

Determining White House Salaries

The total spending on salaries is determined by Congress, which has to approve the annual White House budget. White House staff salaries have been transparent since 1995 when the White House was required to deliver a report to Congress listing the title and salary of every employee. Some junior staffers are likely still richer than these members of Congress.

The range of White House staff salaries is wide: junior analysts and staff assistants typically make the lowest amount of money at $40,000 per year, and the president’s salary is at the top end of the range at $400,000 per year.

Actual White House Staff Salaries

To find out what a sampling of staffers at the White House make per year, keep reading.

Learn More: The Ideal Salary You Need to Own a Home in Every State

Vice President: Mike Pence

Salary: $230,700

The vice president must be ready at any time to assume the presidency if the president is unable to perform his duties. He also serves as president of the Senate and is charged with casting the deciding vote if there is a tie. Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, earns more in this job; his tax returns show he has not earned more than $200,000 a year for the past decade. See Pence’s net worth.

Director of the Domestic Policy Council: Andrew Bremberg

Salary: $179,700

The director of the Domestic Policy Council leads the council, which directs the development, coordination and execution of domestic policy in the White House, and advises the president and represents his priorities to Congress.

Chief of Staff for the First Lady: Lindsay Reynolds

Salary: $179,700

The chief of staff for the first lady assists the first lady in all aspects of her public life. Learn the real cost to live like Melania Trump. This person is typically the first lady’s go-to person and constant companion for nearly all her daily tasks. In addition to serving as chief of staff for the First Lady, Reynolds also serves as assistant to the president.

Director of Social Media: Dan Scavino

Salary: $179,700

The director of social media is responsible for managing the president’s social media. Scavino actually worked for Trump years before as a manager at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester. Then in 2015, Trump asked Scavino to work for him again at the start of his presidential run.

Press Secretary: Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Salary: $179,700

The press secretary provides daily briefings for the media on the president’s activities and agenda. Sanders, whose father is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was appointed White House press secretary in July 2017 in place of former press secretary Sean Spicer after he resigned following Trump’s decision to name banker Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Related: Learn the Story Behind Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Chief of Staff: John F. Kelly

Salary: $179,700

The chief of staff supervises the White House staff, sets strategy, executes the presidential vision, controls presidential access and serves as an all-around adviser. Kelly, a retired United States Marine Corps general, succeeded Reince Priebus in July 2017.

Find Out: The Crazy Financial Perks of Being President

Deputy Chief of Staff: Chris Liddell

Salary: $179,700

The deputy chief of staff serves as an adviser to the president and vice president, assists the chief of staff with operations, leads the organization’s data and policy analysis efforts and serves as the social chair. Before Liddell joined the Trump Administration, he was the vice chairman and chief financial officer at General Motors. Working as the deputy chief of staff is one of the highest-paying jobs in government.

National Security Adviser: John Bolton

Salary: $179,700

The national security adviser makes recommendations to the president on national security and foreign policies and coordinates policies among various government agencies. John Bolton is Trump’s third national security adviser. Michael Flynn held the position briefly at the start of Trump’s presidency before he was forced to resign. H. R. McMaster served in the job for more than a year, before resigning in April 2018.

Cabinet Secretary: William McGinley

Salary: $165,000

The White House Cabinet Secretary is the main point of contact between the president and the Cabinet departments and agencies. The secretary holds “a critical role in managing the flow of information between the White House and the federal departments,” according to the White House website. William McGinley is a former partner at the law firm Jones Day. He was hired by the Trump presidential campaign in April 2016.

Learn More: The Richest Politician in Every State

Deputy Director of Communications: Jessica Ditto

Salary: $155,000

The deputy director of communications oversees the president’s message operation and helps him develop public messages. Jessica Ditto served as part of Trump’s campaign and transition teams.

Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs: Matthew Flynn

Salary: $94,000

The senior director of cabinet affairs coordinates communications, policy and logistics between the White House and the cabinet and also manages issues that affect multiple federal agencies.

Deputy Social Secretary: Vanessa Schneider

Salary: $77,000

The social secretary works with the first lady to plan and coordinate official and personal social events hosted by the president and his family. This includes compiling guest lists, setting menus and seating arrangements, and choosing decorations and entertainment.

Associate Director of Agency Liaison: Dan Horning

Salary: $40,000

There are eight people in the Trump White House that earned the lowest salaries in 2017, all earning $40,000. Their titles range from research assistant to executive assistant to associate director.

Director of the National Economic Council: Larry Kudlow

Salary: Unknown

The director of the National Economic Council works in conjunction with officials to coordinate and implement the president’s economic policy objective. Gary Cohn held this title up until April 2018, when he resigned after Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. Cohn took a reduced salary of $30,000.

Larry Kudlow is a long-time television pundit and has been a consistent Trump supporter on cable TV. It is unkown what his salary is, but past national economic council directors have received the federal maximum.

Senior Adviser: Jared Kushner

Salary: $0

Senior adviser and assistant to the president Jared Kushner assists the president with a variety of domestic and international policy issues, including those for climate, conservation and energy. At the time Kushner assumed the role of senior adviser to the president, some experts questioned if the move would violate federal anti-nepotism laws since Kushner is also Trump’s son-in-law. To assuage critics, Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump are both taking no salary as they work in the Trump administration.

Click through to learn Barack Obama’s net worth post-presidency.

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"As trade deals come in one by one, we're going to go a lot higher than these numbers — and these are great numbers," Trump said at a news conference after the report.

He added, "I happen to think we're going to do extraordinarily well in our next report."

Trump said growth during each of the two previous administrations, a period that coincided with the 2008 recession, averaged just over 1.8%.

"By contrast, we are now on track to hit an average GDP annual growth of over 3% and it could be substantially over 3%," Trump said. "Each point, by the way, means approximately $3 trillion and 10 million jobs. Think of that."

Friday's report showed that the US became a $20 trillion economy — the first time any country has hit that milestone.  

Trump cast doubt on the chorus of economists who have said that growth at a 3%+ rate is not sustainable. Worker productivity has slowed in recent years, and growth in Q2 was partly boosted by a surge in soybean exports ahead of China's retaliatory 25% tariff on the crop. 

"I think the most important thing — and Larry Kudlow just confirmed to me along with Kevin Hassett — is that these numbers are very, very sustainable," Trump said. "This isn't a one-time shot."

A rebound in consumer spending from the first quarter served the biggest contribution to growth in Q2. The April-June period was the first full quarter after the Trump administration's tax cuts were signed into law.

Personal consumption increased by 4% in the first full quarter after President Donald Trump signed tax cuts into law. Business investment and government spending also increased.

The Commerce Department's report was based on preliminary data, and revisions with more complete data will be released in August and September. 

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