In his post-acquittal initiative to finally clean the federal government of Obama holdovers and “never-Trumpers,” President Donald Trump has appointed a trusted loyalist to head up the Presidential Personnel Office, reports say.
John McEntee is returning to the West Wing after being fired in 2018 by then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
McEntee is reportedly very close with White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller from their days on Air Force One and the 2016 Trump campaign.
Administration officials told Axios that the president “feels he’s surrounded by snakes and wants to clear out all the disloyal people. Trump sees McEntee as the ultimate loyalist, and he has assigned him the powerful role of picking personnel across the federal government.”
Reports said that Kelly forced McEntee out over issues with his security clearance. The Wall Street Journal reported that the issues were related to online gambling problems and mishandling of his taxes.
Trump on Thursday slammed Kelly for the former chief of staff’s comments during a lecture series event at Drew University in New Jersey. Kelly defended impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said the media is “not the enemy of the people,” and described migrants as “overwhelmingly good people.”
Trump tweeted: “When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”
Kelly was ousted as chief of staff in January 2019.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that another Trump aide, Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who left in March 2018, would also return. Hicks will serve as a counselor to the president and report to top White House adviser Jared Kushner, the report said.
Axios reported that “Trump has been asking for names of people he should fire. Many on the outside are more than happy to oblige.”
The president reportedly withdrew his nomination of D.C. Attorney Jessie Liu to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes after hearing from a number of people, including Rep. Louie Gohmert, that Liu was someone not to be trusted.