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The Clintons and Obamas, Not Trump, Cash in on Presidency

December 25, 2018

By Peter Lucas

President Donald Trump wants everyone to have a Merry Christmas.

Except for the White House Press Corps, that is. Or for most of its members, anyway, the ones who in his eyes -- and the eyes of many others -- will not give him a fair shake no matter what he does.

They are not worthy of a merry anything.

That is why Trump canceled the Christmas party, a cancellation that came after the media downplayed or ignored the president’s attendance at the wreath ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery last week.

Had he not gone it would have been a scandal. He went and the story was buried.

Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania, thanked volunteers for laying Christmas wreathes at veterans’ cemeteries across the country.

It is a program conducted annually by Wreaths Across America, a non-profit volunteer organization that shipped 1.7 million wreaths to some 1,600 locations across the country.

An interesting aside to Trump’s visit was the news that Trump, who is a staunch pro-veteran, pro-military president, donates his $400,000 yearly salary to the Department of the Interior where it is used for the construction and repair of military cemeteries.

That story did not make the news either, along with the other non-story last week about how Trump and First Lady Melania have cut the White House staff and payroll significantly from the Obama years.

In its annual report to Congress, the White House Personnel Office said that the annual White House budget was cut from $60.9 million under former President Barack Obama to $25.1 million under Trump.

Not only are there 140 fewer people working at the White House under Trump, the staff of the first lady was reduced from 44 staffers under former first Lady Michelle Obama to five now working for First Lady Melania Trump.

While Trump’s critics have painted him as a crass New York billionaire businessman and real estate tycoon out to make a buck out of the presidency, the opposite appears to be the truth.

The job may be costing him money -- the millions he would have been generating running his business empire had he not become president.

Politicians running for president frequently talk about their modest backgrounds. Not Trump. There is nothing modest about Trump, including how rich he is. He bragged about his wealth during the campaign. He financed his own campaign.

So, it will be interesting to see what kind of a former president he will be when he is out of office. Will he be a Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford and simply retire, return home, do good works and drop out of sight?

Or will he imitate Ronald Reagan or one of the Bushes by quietly returning home to the ranch or the farm after making a couple of paid speeches.

The third alternative is to follow in the path of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, both once men of modest means, who have capitalized on their years as president to become very rich.

As a matter of fact, it was Bill and Hillary Clinton who set the standard for the selling of the presidency that Barack and Michelle Obama are currently following. And the Obamas are so good at making money that they are becoming richer than the Clintons, if that is possible.

Like the Clintons, the Obamas are grabbing with both hands.

The Clinton’s reaped a fortune when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state during Obama’s first term. She and Bill Clinton launched the Clinton Foundation. Countries seeking access poured billions into the allegedly non-profit foundation in what many called a pay for play operation.

Speaking fees for both soared.

But the Obamas are outdoing the Clintons, and they are doing it without either of them holding public office, the way Hillary Clinton did.

In addition to a joint $65 million book advance and a $50 million deal with Netflix that she shares with Barack, Michelle Obama is also raking in millions selling her memoir “Becoming” along with merchandise connected to the book in appearances across the country.

She is also paid $225,000 to speak at group events.

Barack, not to be outdone, gets a whopping $400,000 for a speech. He was paid $1.2 million in 2017 for three talks to the Wall Street firms he once criticized.

Forbes estimated that the Obamas are now worth more than $135 million.

And Obama gets an annual pension of $207,800.

Every day is Christmas when you leave the White House the way the Clintons and the Obamas did. Trump should be so lucky.

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