Donald Trump
Credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr

There’s something seriously wrong with the official story about the firing of Trump assistant John McEntee.

President Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was fired and escorted from the White House on Monday after being denied a security clearance over financial problems in his background, according to senior administration officials and people close to the former aide.

According to the report, McEntee was not allowed to return to his office and was thus forced to depart into the cold without a jacket. CNN is reporting that McEntee is “currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes.” That might explain why he is also reported to have failed a background check.

McEntee has been with the president since 2015 and he has been described as a “bodyman” whose responsibilities included making sure the president has pens to sign autographs and delivering messages to the president while he’s upstairs in the residence of the White House.

But if McEntee has committed serious financial crimes and needed to be aggressively escorted off the White House grounds, then why did the Trump administration immediately announce that he would be “joining the reelection effort as a senior adviser for campaign operations”?

Obviously, there’s an ethical question there. Why hire a suspected criminal to serve on your campaign? Why trust him if he’s not trustworthy enough to serve in the West Wing?

But it also raises questions about whether we’re getting an accurate description of what’s going on. It seems like we’re getting explanations and excuses from various people who are not singing from the same hymnal. Could it be that the Trump administration was forced to part ways with McEntee but doesn’t want him to become a disgruntled former employee who is willing to cooperate in the investigation of the president? Could they be trying to keep him close by offering him a job and not officially discussing the circumstances of his dismissal, but that others are giving out portions of the actual story?

All I know is that it doesn’t make a lot of public relations sense to announce that you’re hiring someone in the same breath that you reveal that they’ve failed a background check and been fired. It makes even less ethical sense. If they were planning on hiding the circumstances that led to his termination and the way that he was removed from the premises, that plan obviously failed its first contact with the news cycle.

The only thing that really makes sense to me is that they want to keep him happy and make sure he doesn’t go blabbing about what’s he learned from spending more than three years at Donald Trump’s side.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at