Reprinted with permission from Alternet
In 2018, John McEntee had been serving as a personal aide to President Donald Trump when White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly fired him. But Kelly left Trump’s administration in January 2019 on bad terms with the president, and McEntee was recently rehired for the White House and asked to head the personnel office — where, according to Axios reporters Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene, the 29-year-old Trump loyalist is trying to purge Trump’s critics.
Swan and Treene report that Trump “has empowered McEntee — whom he considers an absolute loyalist — to purge the ‘bad people’ and ‘Deep State.’ McEntee told staff that those identified as anti-Trump will no longer get promotions by shifting them around agencies.”
The Axios journalists report that according to three sources, McEntee “called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting” on Thursday and “askedthem to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump.”
Swan and Treene predicted that the hiring of McEntee as personnel chief “foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government. But McEntee suggested the most dramatic changes may have to wait until after the November election.”
Attorney Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, responded to Axios’ report on Twitter — posting, “Denying promotions to career officials based on political affiliation is illegal. That’s why this reprobate is hoping for a day when there are no laws.”
After being acquitted on two articles of impeachment on February 5, Trump fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council and also fired Gordon Sondland as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Both were key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. Moreover, Swan and Treene note, Trump has “promoted or brought back several people he considers core loyalists,” including McEntee, former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany.
“McEntee’s job already is being tested with Trump’s decision to tap Grenell, a staunch loyalist who has never worked for an intelligence agency, as the acting director of national intelligence,” Swan and Treene observe. “Trump has said it’s only a temporary move until he names a new permanent director.”