While State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s ousting has been the most dominating update in the saga that is the Trump White House’s high turnover rate, the president’s personal assistant was also abruptly fired this week. According to the Wall Street Journal, John McEntee — one of Trump’s longest-serving aides along with Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino, and the recently resigned Hope Hicks — “was escorted out of the White House on Monday.” Per several administration officials with knowledge of the matter, McEntee’s sudden firing was due to an “unspecified security issue.”
When asked to comment on the firing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told the WSJ, “We don’t comment on personnel issues.” Nor did McEntee himself return the paper’s request for comment. Even so, as one official explained it, “It’s not going to be great for morale”:
Mr. McEntee was removed from the White House grounds on Monday afternoon without being allowed to collect his belongings, a White House official said. He left without his jacket, a second White House official said.
It wasn’t clear exactly why Mr. McEntee was fired Monday. He indicated to colleagues that it was an issue in his background.
Whether McEntee’s firing has anything to do with the White House’s renewed push for better security clearances for staffers since the Rob Porter scandal broke remains to be seen. Per the WSJ, however, that the removal of Trump’s longtime personal assistant is reportedly due to an “unspecified security issue” suggests McEntee’s ousting just might be another consequence of that ongoing affair.
UPDATE #1 — 10:45 am ET: According to the Washington Post, after news of his firing broke “[t]he president’s campaign then announced McEntee will rejoin the campaign as a senior adviser of operations.” What’s more, the announcement said former Trump surrogate Katrina Pierson will also being joining the 2020 reelection campaign as an adviser. “We need the help of proven leaders such as Katrina and John to promote the President’s growing portfolio of achievements across the country,” said Brad Parscale, the campaign’s recently-appointed manager.
UPDATE #2 — 11:20 am ET: CNN reports that, per a source familiar with McEntee’s firing, Trump’s ex-personal assistant turned campaign official was let go “because he is currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes.”
(Via Wall Street Journal)