Rex Tillerson wasn’t the only member of the Trump administration who lost their job this week. Also departing the White House under abrupt and not-entirely-understood circumstances was Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee.
McEntee was escorted out of the West Wing, according to senior administration officials, so quickly that he wasn’t even able to collect his belongings. The Wall Street Journal reports that someone actually had to go back and collect Mr. McEntee’s jacket for him from inside the building.
According to another official, the cause of McEntee’s firing was “an unspecified security issue,” but with no direct comment from the White House, we are left to assume that the assistant is simply the latest to be swept up in the “cleansing” efforts of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly has been systematically removing everyone who did not or could not get the proper security clearance in order to work in the White House, which turned out to be a surprisingly high number of people.
But that lack of security clearance raises questions about what, exactly, it might be in McEntee’s background that keeps him from getting cleared. If it’s something criminal, that leads us to wonder how many of the other “couple of spreadsheets worth of people” that Kelly’s clearance review process turned up also have some criminal history.
After all, McEntee was one of Trump’s longest-serving aides, a holdover from a time in the campaign when Trump was surrounded only by his son-in-law, his white supremacist pal Stephen Miller, Jane-of-all-trades Hope Hicks, and his mouthpiece Dan Scavino. If whatever McEntee was hiding on his security clearance forms was serious enough to warrant whisking him from the Oval Office faster than he could even collect his things, there’s no telling what someone a little lower on the totem pole might be hiding.
If it’s anything like the man who prompted the review in the first place — Rob Porter, the man who was found to have beaten his ex-wives — the White House may be in for another scandal soon.
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