Yet another “break glass” moment for American democracy this week at the Trump White House.
First, some brief background. John David McEntee II was a production assistant for Fox News in 2015, focusing on the channel’s social media accounts. He successfully lobbied for a job on the Trump campaign, joining as a volunteer in July of that year, later being promoted to a full-time position as trip director. McEntee was responsible for executing the campaign’s rallies while traveling with the candidate and coordinating the campaign’s travel for all staff.
After Trump won the election, McEntee was asked to join his staff as an aide, serving as his body man. McEntee’s service in the White House ended on March 13, 2018, after he resigned due to an “unspecified security issue,” later revealed to be a problem with gambling debts. McEntee was rehired by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign as a senior adviser for campaign operations. In January 2020, McEntee returned to the White House and resumed duties as the President’s personal aide (was that security clearance issue somehow resolved?)
President Donald Trump’s new personnel chief is John McEntee, who has been elevated to run the presidential personnel office. McEntee made it clear to agency officials at a meeting on Thursday that his office will be on the lookout for staffers across the bureaucracy who are seen as disloyal to Trump.
The Stalinist purges of anyone who is not a devoted cult member of the personality cult of Donald Trump has begun. It is only a matter of time until the Stalinist show trials for “treason” against “Dear Leader” begin.
[An] 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. [So they are presumably Trump loyalists to begin with.] 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.
And then there is President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser Peter Navarro, who said Friday he has been “hunting” for the author of the “anonymous” New York Times op-ed in 2008 and the book, “A Warning,” scheduled for release on November 19 — conveniently after Election Day — although it is likely to leak sooner. Trump’s top trade adviser ‘hunting’ for anonymous op-ed author:
CNN reported Thursday that Navarro has been leading the charge inside the West Wing that now-departed National Security Council official Victoria Coates is the author, according to three people familiar with the situation.
“Ever since that op-ed came out, there’s been a pall cast over everybody in the administration, everybody’s a suspect. So within the administration, everybody’s hunting, as it were, for anonymous,” Navarro said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Navarro was pressed specifically on whether he believes Coates is the author, as the sources say he has been saying internally at the White House, but he wouldn’t say.
“Suspects are everywhere,” he said, going on to rail against reporting from “so-called senior administration officials.”
Once the unsubstantiated rumor that Coates was the author began circulating inside the West Wing, the book’s publishers denied it, but their denial did little to stop Navarro from continuing to insist it was her, two people said.
When asked what he’s been doing to find Anonymous, Navarro was mum: “You read the book. You read the op-ed. You think about it — that’s about it.”
For the last several weeks, Navarro has been on a hunt to determine who is Anonymous, two people said, a move that would likely ingratiate him with the President.
Navarro searching for Anonymous was first reported by the Daily Beast.
Several officials were initially amused by Navarro’s tactics, but then became concerned that it could affect Coates’ standing with the President, the same officials said.
Several officials who heard Navarro push this said they do not believe Coates is the author and several described her as loyal to the President’s agenda. However, the workplace became untenable given these dynamics, so Coates began looking for an exit, officials said, which led to her move to the Energy Department on Thursday.
Coates declined to comment when reached by CNN.
Asked Tuesday if there was a search for who “Anonymous” was, Trump said: “Yeah there is, it’s not so much a search, I know who it is. I can tell you that, but I know who it is.”
If he knew, he would have taken retribution against the author by now and making the author the centerpiece of his Nuremberg-style MAGa cult rallies. He doesn’t know.
The national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, elevated Coates to deputy national security adviser when he took the job last fall.
A week ago he insisted she would not be moved out of the National Security Council, but within days it became apparent that was not a long-term option. He confirmed her move to the Department of Energy.
And let’s not forget those “whistleblowers” protected by federal law whom Trump still wants to exact retribution against.
President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK earlier this week, according to two attendees and quotes of his remarks provided to CNN. Mulvaney slams ‘deep state’ of government employees undermining Trump:
Asked whether a “deep state” of government employees is actively undermining Trump’s agenda, Mulvaney replied that was “absolutely” the case. “One-hundred percent true,” he told the crowd, adding that he viewed civil servants as employees who should be carrying out the administration’s policies. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda, Mulvaney continued. One attendee at the event said Mulvaney was “emphatic” that Democratic-leaning government employees are attempting to thwart Trump at every turn.
Mulvaney appeared at the historic free speech society under the condition that there would be no video or audio recording of his remarks, attendees said. However, recordings did leak out of the event and quotes from Mulvaney’s remarks were provided to CNN. Portions of his remarks were also reported by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
This is the most lawless, corrupt and criminal administration in history. There are federal laws which protect federal employees for reporting unethical, corrupt or criminal misconduct. This is not a “deep state” conspiracy against Trump, but employees honoring their oath to country and Constitution and performing their legal duty to report unethical, corrupt or criminal misconduct to the appropriate authorities. They do not take an oath of loyalty to the corrupt and criminal Mafia “Don” of the Trump crime family. It is not their job to protect this criminal from disclosure of his crimes or his eventual prosecution.
Permanent musical accompaniment: The Kinks, “Paranoia, the Destroyer” (1981).