WH personnel chief reportedly on the lookout for Trump critics

If you thought Team Trump was purging perceived enemies from government posts before, it's apparently poised to get considerably worse.
Image: John McEntee
John McEntee walks to Marine One to join U.S. President Donald Trump for travel to Florida in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2018. Picture taken February 16, 2018.Leah Millis / Reuters
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By Steve Benen

In Donald Trump's first year as president his personal assistant was a young man named John McEntee. At the White House, it's a job known as "body man." (If you watched The West Wing television show, McEntee was, in effect, Charlie. Or, for Veep fans, he was Gary.)

The young man's career was cut short in 2018, however, when then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly fired McEntee -- by some accounts because he was facing a federal investigation over unspecified "serious financial crimes." The Wall Street Journal reported soon after on McEntee's alleged gambling issues, complicated by the apparent fact that he couldn't pass a background check.

He was hired by Trump's re-election campaign less than a day later.

Two years later, those events are behind McEntee, who has now returned to the White House -- as the new director of the Office of Presidential Personnel. It's a rather important position for the 29-year-old Republican, who'll be responsible for hiring and vetting those seeking jobs in the White House.

Axios reports today that McEntee is already hard at work, though his priorities in his new gig may not be altogether appropriate.

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he askedthem to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

So the controversial former body man is now the White House personnel chief on the hunt for Never-Trumpers? And he's seeking assistance from cabinet agency officials, who'll apparently be expected to play a role in a McCarthyite scheme?

The Axios report added that Trump considers McEntee "an absolute loyalist," and the president has empowered his young ally to purge the "bad people" and "Deep State."

With that in mind, McEntee reportedly told staff that "those identified as anti-Trump will no longer get promotions by shifting them around agencies."

If you thought Team Trump was purging perceived enemies from government posts before, it's apparently poised to get considerably worse.