Trump's personal assistant couldn't get a security clearance, so he joined the Trump campaign

Trump's personal assistant, John McEntee, is reportedly under investigation for serious financial crimes

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 13, 2018 3:32PM (EDT)

John McEntee (AP/Alex Brandon)
John McEntee (AP/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump's personal assistant lost his job in the White House on Monday due to issues trying to obtain a security clearance. By Tuesday morning, he had been hired on to the Trump re-election campaign.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal:

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.

People close to Mr. McEntee said problems related to online gambling and mishandling of his taxes prevented him from gaining the clearance necessary for the role. The Secret Service is investigating Mr. McEntee for those issues, according to a law enforcement official.

In the aftermath of McEntee's firing, Trump's 2020 presidential campaign announced that he would be added to their team as a senior adviser for campaign operations. This puts him outside the reach of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has tightened policies regarding the need for security clearances after staff secretary Rob Porter left in disgrace when it came out that accusations of domestic violence had stymied his efforts to obtain final approval for his own security clearance.

The most conspicuous security clearance kerfluffle has involved Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser. Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded and faced intense criticism for a number of errors that appeared on his security clearance questionnaire. There have been concerns that Kushner's numerous business connections could have created conflicts of interest that impaired his ability to impartially serve the public.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Jared Kushner John Mcentee