The official behind a mounting number of post-election firings to help purge never-Trumpers from key positions in government is a former college quarterback who was fired from the White House for his gambling habit.
Johnny McEntee, 30, is said to have helped lead a purge of anti-Trump government officials in his role as the head of the Presidential Personnel Office.
He has also warned federal workers to not co-operate with Biden officials since he won the election, according to reports.
And sources told The Washington Post he has also threatened to oust those already looking for jobs for their ‘disloyalty’ and has overseen an interview process of government workers to test their loyalty to Trump.
The number of Trump firings has been mounting since Election Day.
McEntee, who sources say ‘is loyal to a fault to the president’, was brought back into the fold at the end 2019, a year after he was removed from his job as Trump’s personal aide by then chief of staff John Kelly.
His dismissal was due to financial problems related to gambling. His new posting coordinates the screening and hiring of thousands of federal government workers.
The official behind a mounting number of post-election firings to help purge never-Trumpers from key positions in government is John McEntee, right with the president, a former college quarterback who was fired from the White House for his gambling habit
McEntee Jr attended the University of Connecticut where he was a star quarterback, throwing 2,209 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011-12
By McEntee’s side is 23-year-old James Bacon, a college senior with a long list of Trump-related jobs, starting with being an intern on the Trump campaign, according to his LinkedIn page.
Those fired include Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who Trump forced out on Monday.
Also on Monday, the White House removed Michael Kuperberg, who ran the U.S. Global Change Research Program and reassigned him.
On Friday, the ax fell for FERC chair Neil Chatterjee. He had come out for exploring carbon taxation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates energy transmission.
Immediately after the election, the administration also pushed out Lisa Gordon-Hagerty as head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Also pushed out was Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
More firings are said to be expected.
Those fired include Defense Secretary Mark Esper, right, who Trump, left, forced out Monday
Trump’s friend Chris Ruddy said of McEntee: ‘The president values him as a very trusted, very loyal man.’
Presidents who win reelection often replace Cabinet members, including the secretary of defense, but losing presidents have kept their Pentagon chiefs in place until Inauguration Day to preserve stability in the name of national security.
Trump announced the Esper news in a tweet, saying that ‘effective immediately’ Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will serve as acting secretary, sidestepping the department’s No.2-ranking official, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist.
‘Chris will do a GREAT job!’ Trump tweeted. ‘Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.’
Trump’s abrupt move to dump Esper triggers questions about what the president may try to do in the next few months before he leaves office, including adjustments in the presence of troops overseas or other national security changes.
But McEntee is also focusing on staffing the administration with loyalists and helped in the hiring of Michael Ellis, according to the report. Trump loyalist Ellis was named the the National Security Agency’s general counsel on Monday.
John McEntee, a personal aide to U.S. President Donald Trump, carries a box of documents past U.S. Air Force officers as he boards Air Force One to depart for travel to Florida with the President at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 23, 2020
The number of Trump firings has been mounting since Election Day
One senior administration official said McEntee ‘doesn’t have the basic understanding of how departments operate and what skills are required to hold certain Cabinet-level positions’.
They added: ‘It’s actually hampered the president by putting unqualified people throughout senior roles.’
But White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said in a statement: ‘John McEntee has supported the President’s initiative from day one and does an outstanding job working to help make sure our administration implements the Trump agenda.
Trump loyalist Michael Ellis was named the National Security Agency’s general counsel on Monday
‘He’s a valuable asset to our team and no doubt the unfair criticisms being directed his way are from individuals who don’t know the facts.’
McEntee was fired and removed from the White House in March 2018.
DailyMail.com reported at the time that McEntee would spend time at the MGM National Harbor casino, located just down the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
There, McEntee blew $250,000 on roulette. McEntee’s six-figure betting dwarfed the then $115,000 salary he was making annually.
McEntee had sometimes carried Trump’s belongings on trips and otherwise tended to a variety of logistical needs presidents have.
During the campaign, he took part in a Time Magazine video where he gave a tour of the Trump Tower campaign office while riding a hover board.
His father, John McEntee Sr, 63, is a longtime Hollywood agent who lives in Newport Beach, California.
McEntee Jr attended the University of Connecticut where he was a star quarterback, throwing 2,209 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011-2012.
The player was known for his trick throws, including blindfolded passes.
He was also capable of reproducing Trump’s signature perfectly, Politico revealed, and had used it to send notes to other White House workers which either reproached or praised them – then revealed the joke to them.
It also noted that he was a teetotaling former altar boy.
Personal aide to President Trump John McEntee (L) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (R) walk towards the Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House prior to a presidential departure May 21, 2020 in Washington