The XX Factor

The Trump Campaign Pays Its Few Female Employees Much Less Than Its Male Ones

Donald Trump at an Anaheim, California rally on May 25, 2016.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s campaign staff is 75 percent male, and many of those men get paid far more than women of similar seniority. In an analysis of Trump’s May financial disclosure papers, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday that the highest-paid men on Trump’s campaign made between $2,014 and $12,300 more than the highest-paid women—more than twice as much, in some cases—in the month of April.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the pay disparities in the Trump ranks. Earlier this year, former Trump Iowa field organizer Elizabeth Mae Davidson filed a gender discrimination complaint against the campaign, alleging that her male counterparts were paid more and given more leadership and speaking opportunities. She also accused Trump of sexually harassing her and another young colleague.

Davidson made $2,000 a month on the Trump campaign; some men in her same position made $3,500 to $4,000 a month. She said her superiors kept her in a lower pay grade by classifying her as a part-time employee because she worked as a paralegal on the side—but one of her male equals who also kept a second job made the higher pay level.

Davidson was a relatively low-ranking employee, but the new Trump numbers reveal a similarly wide gap at the highest levels of the campaign. The Huffington Post reports:

Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner, chief policy adviser Sam Clovis, and director of social media Dan Scavino were each paid between $12,500 and $20,000 for April and May. The two female senior staffers—communications director Hope Hicks and national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson—were paid $7,700 and $10,486, respectively.

Some staffers were paid sporadically in different amounts, so it’s possible this snapshot doesn’t reflect their total compensation. However, Hicks, a 27-year-old with no political experience prior to this gig, would make roughly $92,000 a year at her April rate. That might seem low to many familiar with the field and the excruciating demands of these kinds of jobs, but as of late last year, none of Trump’s staffers were making enough to net a $100,000 take for the year, according to Jezebel. Some might say that a campaign manager should make more than a press secretary or spokesperson. But that’s not a given: On Clinton’s team, which is 51 percent female, the highest-paid staffer is Jennifer Palmieri, the director of communications. (In March, Jezebel found that every presidential campaign staff, Republican or Democrat, except Clinton’s, retained far more men than women.)

Trump’s campaign isn’t likely to feel much shame over these revelations. The candidate has repeatedly made light of the issue of equal pay and expressed particular disdain for working mothers. “An employer could say ‘she’s not giving me 100 percent. She’s giving me 84 percent, and 16 percent is going towards taking care of children,’” he told Mika Brzezinski in an interview for her 2011 book, Knowing Your Value. Trump once said that pumping breast milk in the office was “disgusting” and that women manipulate men with “a twitch of their eye—or perhaps another body part.” It’s unlikely that he sees any man as his equal, and even less likely that he has the capacity to consider a female employee of equal worth to a male one.

Unfortunately for Trump, most women voters don’t share that view, and Trump is gunning hard to win their trust: One of his latest campaign strategies to draw women away from Clinton’s camp is dwelling on sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton, painting him as a “women abuser” with Hillary as his enabler. No one’s surprised that Trump, who fundamentally views women as less competent, less intelligent, and less valuable than men would pay them half as much as the men on his campaign. But regardless of his personal views, this isn’t a good look for a known misogynist trying to win an election.