Speed Reads

Playing politics

Congress could cut Donald Trump's salary to $1

In his first television interview after the election, Donald Trump said he isn't interested in taking a salary as president. "I think I have to by law take $1, so I’ll take $1 a year," he suggested. "But it's a ― I don’t even know what it is. Do you know what the salary is?" Interviewer Leslie Stahl explained that the salary is $400,000 per year, and Trump doubled down on his rejection of the money.

Now, thanks to a rule change made by congressional Republicans this week, that $1 salary may be possible: The House GOP revived a rule dating to 1876 which allows them to cut a specific federal employee's salary to just $1 for budgetary reasons.

Democrats and some federal employees are worried the rule could be abused, particularly since the Trump transition team has requested lists of federal workers with expertise in areas like climate change. "This is part of a very chilling theme that federal workers are seeing right now," said Maureen Gilman, legislative director for the National Treasury Employees Union.

But maybe it really is about Trump's own salary. After all, his personal net worth is somewhere between $800 million and $10 billion, and at either extreme $400,000 is chump change.