John McEntee (political aide)

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John McEntee
John McEntee in office.jpg
Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office
In office
January 8, 2020 – January 20, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJordan Karem
Succeeded byCatherine M. Russell
Personal Aide to the President
In office
January 20, 2017 – March 13, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJoe Paulsen
Succeeded byJordan Karem
Personal details
Born (1990-05-09) May 9, 1990 (age 31)
Fullerton, California, US
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Connecticut (BA)

John David McEntee II (born May 9, 1990) is an American political advisor who served as Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office in the Trump Administration. McEntee began as a body man and personal aide to the president until he was dismissed by White House chief of staff John Kelly in March 2018. McEntee had failed a security clearance background check and was under investigation by the Homeland Security Department for possible financial crimes relating to gambling.[1][2][3][4] After Kelly was dismissed in December 2018, Trump rehired McEntee and named him Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel in February 2020.[5][6][7][8] Trump assigned McEntee the task of identifying for removal political appointees and career officials who were insufficiently loyal to the president.[9][10][11]

Early life, family and education[edit]

McEntee was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Fullerton, California.[12] His father is John D. McEntee, a producer/manager who books celebrities for private and corporate functions, as well as for resorts including the MGM Resorts, Caesars Palace, and Venetian Properties.[13] His cousin, Zac McEntee, was the Deputy Chief of Staff[14] for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.[12]

He attended St. Angela Merici Parish School in Brea, California. Later, he attended Servite High School in Anaheim, where he played quarterback on the varsity football team. As a senior, he threw for 1,525 yards with seven touchdown passes and rushed for four touchdowns.[15]

McEntee was a redshirt his first year at the University of Connecticut. Thereafter, he saw limited playing time in his first two full seasons of play. In 2011, he was the team's starting quarterback and played all 12 games in 2011, leading the team to a 5–7 season. As the team's quarterback, McEntee passed for over 150 yards in seven games, passed for over 200 in four games, and reached a season and career-high of 300 yards against Western Michigan University, where he also had a career high of four touchdown passes and 22 completions.[16] His 335 pass attempts was eighth in school single-season history and his 172 completions was tenth. He finished the season throwing for 12 touchdowns with 8 interceptions.[17] McEntee completed his communications degree in the spring of his senior year, but he was thereafter no longer the starting quarterback for his final season in 2012, playing sparingly in three games.[17][18][12]


By 2015, McEntee worked as a production assistant for Fox News, focusing on the channel's social media accounts.[12] 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.[19] 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 2016 election, McEntee was asked to join his staff as an aide, serving as his body man.[2] McEntee accompanied President Trump on all trips, most notably the President's trip to Saudi Arabia in May of 2017, where John McEntee "Man in red tie" and Ivanka Trump "#Trump's_daughter" were the most trending hashtags in the country.[20]

McEntee's service in the White House ended on March 13, 2018 when he was fired due to an "unspecified security issue" that was later revealed to be a problem with gambling debts and an inability to obtain a necessary security clearance.[21][9]

McEntee was immediately hired by Trump's 2020 reelection campaign as a senior adviser for campaign operations. In January 2020, McEntee returned to the White House where he shared some of his former "body man" duties with Nick Luna, the Director of Oval Office Operations.[22] McEntee's role was as the director of the Office of Presidential Personnel,[6] reporting directly to the President. He was tasked with identifying and removing political appointees and career officials deemed insufficiently loyal to the administration.[22][9][10][11][23] His reappointment was controversial given the circumstances of his dismissal.[24][7][8][25]

On November 9th, 2021, John McEntee was issued a subpoena to testify by the House January 6th commission.[26]

Jonathan Karl, the ABC News chief White House correspondent for the duration of the Trump administration, wrote a November 2021 profile of McEntee, characterizing him as particularly powerful because "Trump knew he was the one person willing to do anything Trump wanted." Karl observed that McEntee hired his young friends and, as one senior White House official said, "the most beautiful 21-year-old girls you could find," including Instagram influencers and a dance instructor. Karl characterized McEntee's power late in the Trump presidency:

McEntee and his enforcers made the disastrous last weeks of the Trump presidency possible. They backed the president’s manic drive to overturn the election, and helped set the stage for the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Thanks to them, in the end, the elusive “adults in the room”—those who might have been willing to confront the president or try to control his most destructive tendencies—were silenced or gone. But McEntee was there—bossing around Cabinet secretaries, decapitating the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, and forcing officials high and low to state their allegiance to Trump.[27]

McEntee also sent a series of bullet points via text message to Pence's chief of staff to incorrectly assert that Thomas Jefferson "Used His Position as VP to Win" the 1801 election, which McEntee claimed "proves that the VP has, at a minimum, a substantial discretion to address issues with the electoral process."[28]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2011, while he was a college football player, McEntee starred in a viral YouTube video that featured him throwing football trickshots.[4][12] The video was later featured on CNN.[29] Within 48 hours of posting, the video had generated nearly 7 million views and was featured on the homepage of Yahoo.[30]

Personal life[edit]

McEntee is Roman Catholic.[12]


  1. ^ Zeleny, By Kaitlan Collins, Jeremy Diamond and Jeff (March 13, 2018). "Longtime Trump aide fired over financial crime investigation | CNN Politics". CNN.
  2. ^ a b Wisckol, Martin (January 5, 2017). "Former Servite, UConn QB and YouTube star John McEntee picked as aide to Trump". Orange County Register. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Wisckol, Martin (January 23, 2017). "Trump Appointments as of 1/19". University of Washington. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Dayton, Kels (January 4, 2017). "Former UConn quarterback Johnny 'Trick Shot' McEntee hired to Trump security team". WTNH. Archived from the original on 2017-08-27. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Karl, Jonathan D. (2021-11-09). "The Man Who Made January 6 Possible". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  6. ^ a b Tenpas, Kathryn Dunn (2020-10-07). "Tracking turnover in the Trump administration". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  7. ^ a b Treene, Alayna. "Ex-Trump aide John McEntee to lead White House office of personnel". Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Conradis, Brandon (2020-02-13). "Trump's former personal assistant to oversee White House personnel office". The Hill. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Shear, Michael D.; Haberman, Maggie (February 13, 2020). "Trump Places Loyalists in Key Jobs Inside the White House While Raging Against Enemies Outside". The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Olorunnipa, Toluse; Parker, Ashley; Dawsey, Josh (2020-02-22). "Trump embarks on expansive search for disloyalty as administration-wide purge escalates". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  11. ^ a b Diamond, Jeremy; Acosta, Jim; Collins, Kaitlan; Holmes, Kristen (2020-02-21). "President's new personnel head tells agencies to look out for disloyal staffers". CNN. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Cook, Nancy; Strauss, Ben (2017-12-01). "The Trick-Shot QB Who Played His Way Into Trump's Inner Circle". Politico. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  13. ^ "Entertainment producer donates big act to church fest". Orange County Register. May 25, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via
  14. ^ Sherman, Jake; Palmer, Anna; Lippman, Daniel. "KJU says U.S. negotiating style doesn't suit them, and where Trump is going to mark tax day". Politico. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "John McEntee's High School Timeline". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "Huskies Lose Battle Facing Western Michigan, 38-31". October 1, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Johnny McEntee". UConn Huskies. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  18. ^ "Connecticut Commencement". Retrieved Jan 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "Rising Stars 2017: Administration Staffers". Roll Call. April 20, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  20. ^ "Man in red tie and 'Ivanka bint' Trump are Saudi Arabia's most trending topics". Arab News. 2017-05-20. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  21. ^ Bender, Michael C.; Ballhaus, Rebecca (March 13, 2018). "Trump's Personal Assistant Is Fired: John McEntee was escorted out of White House for unspecified security issue". The Wall Street Journal.
  22. ^ a b Haberman, Maggie (2019-12-14). "Ex-Trump Aide Is Expected to Return to White House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  23. ^ Dawsey, Josh; Eilperin, Juliet; Hudson, John; Rein, Lisa. "In Trump's final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal". The Washington Post. Retrieved Jan 25, 2021.
  24. ^ Relman, Eliza. "Trump just put a 29-year-old fired over allegations of financial crimes in charge of all personnel decisions". Business Insider. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  25. ^ Baker, Peter (February 22, 2020). "Trump's Efforts to Remove the Disloyal Heightens Unease Across His Administration". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  26. ^ Managan, Dan (2021-11-09). "rump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Stephen Miller and other ex-White House officials subpoenaed in Jan. 6 House probe". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  27. ^ Karl, Jonathan D. (November 9, 2021). "The Man Who Made January 6 Possible". The Atlantic.
  28. ^ Karl, Jonathan D. (November 9, 2021). "The Man Who Made January 6 Possible". The Atlantic.
  29. ^ Johnny McEntee's football trick shots, CNN, February 10, 2011, retrieved January 13, 2018 – via YouTube
  30. ^ Johnny Mac Trick Shot Quarterback, HardcoreHuskies, 2011-02-08, retrieved January 13, 2018 – via YouTube