President's new personnel head tells agencies to look out for disloyal staffers

Posted Friday, 21 February 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump's new personnel chief told agency officials at a meeting on Thursday to expect staffing changes and movements across the government, people familiar with the meeting told CNN.A White House official said John McEntee, the President's former body man who was elevated to run the presidential personnel office, made it clear his office will be on the lookout for staffers across the bureaucracy who are seen as disloyal to Trump. Another official said McEntee indicated he plans to first focus his efforts on personnel at the State Department and Department of Defense. He also told the liaisons that promotions and significant staff changes should not occur without prior approval from the presidential personnel office.In his role, McEntee focuses on political appointees at various agencies, not career staff. Hiring and firing of career government employees are typically handled at the agency level.One person who attended said the meeting was mostly introductory and a chance for the liaisons to highlight potential problems at the agencies. McEntee asked them to let him know about people they believe are working against the President's agenda. One administration official said McEntee indicated his office would spend the next week or two reviewing past processes and how they will change them moving forward.McEntee's overtures to the Cabinet officials -- whose job is to liaise with the White House to ensure agencies are working in concert with the rest of the administration -- weren't universally seen as helpful."Not a good idea on his part," one of the White House officials said. "Going to get himself and a lot of people in trouble."McEntee's efforts were first reported by Axios.In the wake of his impeachment acquittal, Trump has been intensely focused on the question of loyalty, eager to purge his administration of officials he perceives as anti-Trump and install officials who have previously proved their loyalty to him.McEntee recently rejoined the White House after being fired in 2018 for issues related to his security clearance. Sources said at the time the issues were related to finances.

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