Melania Trump's staff costs taxpayers less than amount spent under Michelle Obama

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Melania Trump, wife of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves as she arrives to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016.
Melania Trump waves as she arrives to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. Reuters/Mike Segar

US First Lady Melania Trump has fewer number of aides compared to her predecessor, a Fox News analysis of White House personnel has found. Only four people were listed working for the FLOTUS as of June.

This can be compared to the time Michelle Obama was still the first lady of the United States. During former US President Barack Obama’s first year in office, 16 people were listed working for his wife. According to the New York Post, they earned a combined US$1.24 million (AU$1.58 million) a year.

The salaries of people working for Melania totalled US$486,700 (AU$622,613). The details are included in a report the White House sends to Congress with the names, positions and salaries of personnel. The reports list a chief of staff, a communications director, a deputy chief of staff and a deputy director of advance for US President Donald Trump’s wife.

Melania’s smaller staff is no accident, according to her spokesperson. Stephanie Grisham said Melania is deliberate in her hiring, and that she focuses on quality, not quantity, “as with all things that she does.”

“It is important to her that the team is a good fit for what she wants to accomplish as first lady, and that everyone works well together,” Grisham said, adding the first lady wants to be mindful and responsible when it comes to taxpayer money.

As for Obama’s bigger staff, some believe it was likely because of the former FLOTUS’ agenda, including her Let's Move! initiative fighting childhood obesity. Some officials under the Obama administration believe it was possible that Obama’s spouse had up to 24 staffers at one point, the Daily Mail reports.

The two administrations have recognised staffers that work for both Melania and Obama who are not included in official numbers. Melania spent her first few months as FLOTUS living in New York with her son Barron.

Last week, Melania donated her inaugural gown to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. “It can be a daunting task to choose an outfit that will be mesmerized and become part of our nation’s story and forever history,” the first lady said at the museum. She hoped the dress by the French-born designer Hervé Pierre, would be “one of many great beginnings to our family’s history here in Washington DC.”