Trump personal aide John McEntee forced out over background check issues

McEntee is the latest original Trump campaign aide to depart the White House.

March 13, 2018, 11:14 AM

The bombshell firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson comes amid another shakeup in the West Wing involving President Donald Trump’s personal aide (his body man) John McEntee, who was escorted from the White House Monday, sources told ABC News. There were issues with his background clearance, according to the sources.

News of McEntee's departure, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, came shortly after Trump tweeted that he would be replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

McEntee is the latest original Trump campaign aide to depart the White House; he follows Communications Director Hope Hicks, who resigned recently.

PHOTO: John McEntee and John Kelly listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers about trade policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington.
John McEntee and John Kelly listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers about trade policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP

As ABC News reported a week ago, there is a list of several other people with security clearance issues who are under consideration for possible termination or reassignment in the coming days. ABC News has also previously reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly wanted to see a list of remaining White House staffers with security clearance issues.

That list, according to a source, followed standard procedures that included such options as considering whether the individual should be relieved of duty or reassigned to another administration post.

The new security clearance rules imposed by Kelly have also meant a change for another close Trump adviser: Jared Kushner. The president’s son-in-law was stripped of his temporary, high-level security clearance as a result of the new rules. That means Kushner, whose portfolio includes the solving the Middle East peace process, no longer has regular access to the nation's most closely guarded secrets as the FBI continues its nearly 15-month review of his application for permanent clearance.

PHOTO: John McEntee and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino leave the White House with President Donald Trump Nov. 29, 2017 in Washington.
John McEntee and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino leave the White House with President Donald Trump Nov. 29, 2017 in Washington.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As for McEntee, he has not completely left the Trump orbit because he is headed to work for the Trump 2020 campaign. In a campaign statement released this morning, McEntee joins the re-election team “as a senior advisor for campaign operations.”

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