Just as President Trump was razing the State Department to the ground, another scandal was unfolding: Presidential aide John McEntee was escorted from the White House over security issues and was revealed to be the subject of a federal investigation. In the same 24 hours, he promptly received a new position in Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
McEntee had been with Trump since the early days of his presidential campaign and served in the White House as a sort of body man. According to the Wall Street Journal, who first reported his departure, the aide “made sure Mr. Trump had markers to sign autographs, delivered messages to him in the White House residence and, over the weekend, ensured that the clocks in the White House residence were adjusted for daylight-saving time.”
He was physically escorted from the White House grounds on Monday without being allowed to collect his belongings, WSJ reported on Tuesday. Neither the Journal nor the New York Times could specify what exactly the security issue was that led to McEntee’s departure. The Times noted that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been frustrated by the number of White House staffers who were working with interim security clearances and was working to resolve the issue.
“We don’t comment on personnel issues,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
However, CNN later reported that McEntee was, uh, facing a federal investigation over unspecified “serious financial crimes.” The inquiry is not believed to have anything to do with Trump. The alleged crimes have not yet been revealed.
Trump's personal aide Johnny McEntee was fired because he is currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes, a source familiar with his firing tells CNN’s @kaitlancollins.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 13, 2018
But no matter. On Tuesday morning, Trump’s 2020 campaign announced that McEntee would join the team as a senior adviser for campaign operations. Whatever issues drove him from the White House were apparently not enough to keep him entirely off Trump’s payroll.
McEntee’s departure is yet another loss of a longtime and close assistant for Trump in a very short period: Press aide Hope Hicks recently resigned; staff secretary Rob Porter was forced out after domestic abuse allegations surfaced; and Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime security director, left the White House last fall.
You’d be forgiven for not noticing. But it was another turbulent day in the Trump White House, in more ways than one.