White House appointees are typically required to disclose their financial assets so that the public knows that a public servant doesn’t have any conflicts of interests when it comes to crafting policy. When Fox News talking heads make the leap to the Trump White House, they are required to reveal how much the conservative news network paid them to appear on their shows. Further, according to The Hollywood Reporter, fees paid to cable news talking heads “remain shrouded in mystery, ranging by network and by market demand for the contributor’s expertise.” But because the Fox & Friends green room doubles as a Trump administration recruiting pool, we can now see how much White House staffers used to get paid to show up on cable news every now and again and say things like “the age of the pajama boy is over…and the alpha males are back.”
For many cable news talking heads, TV hits are usually an easy source of income that supplements the contributor’s day job, but it turns out that some of Trump’s staffers walked away from quite a bit of money to take a thankless role in a dysfunctional administration for a government salary that tops out at $179,900. Case in point, financial disclosure forms filed by Bush administration neocon relic John Bolton show that he walked away from a $569,423 contract with Fox News to serve as President Trump’s national security advisor.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, was getting paid $485,000 to be a Fox & Friends couch dummy and push conspiracy theories about immigrants and Benghazi before getting recruited to the Trump administration. Leaving Fox turned out to be a bad career move for Nauert, who recently withdrew her baffling Ambassador to the United Nations nomination because her paperwork revealed that she hired a nanny who wasn’t legally authorized to work in the United States.
Anthony Scaramucci had already amassed a healthy hedge fund fortune before he earned $88,461 per year in pocket money thanks to his appearances on the Fox Business channel, but he forfeited that easy money when he accepted the White House communications director gig in 2017 before flaming out in 10 days.
One of the smallest contracts went to former Deputy Assistant to the President “Dr.” Sebastian Gorka who served as the news network’s “counter-terrorism strategist” in the three weeks ahead of the inauguration in January 2017. Almost one month of strategizing counter-terrorism at Fox News earned Gorka $4,320. That’s not a bad takeaway from a few weeks of standing in front of a green screen talking like a Bond villain, but he was one of the few Trump staffers who prospered by taking a White House job. Gorka’s annual salary was $155,000, which is remarkable because in the scant seven months he worked in the administration, no one was quite sure what he actually did besides drink coffee and… defend the president on Fox News. Gorka then returned to Fox News almost immediately after getting ousted from the White House in 2017 before recently departing the network a second time.
As the warden overseeing this group of former or future criminals, recently ousted White House comms director Bill Shine earned a salary of $1,460,000 as Fox News’s co-president before getting fired for allegedly covering up a toxic culture of sexual harassment at the network. That’s not including the massive $8.4 million severance package still being paid out to Shine.
Check out what other White House staffers made at Fox News before joining the administration at The Hollywood Reporter.