The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort.
Since 2018, the president has received memos and lists suggesting whom he should hire and fire. Most of these details have never been published.
Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday (Feb 20, 2020), in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.
Behind the scenes: McEntee, a 29-year-old former body man to Trump who was fired in 2018 by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly but recently rehired — and promoted to head the presidential personnel office — foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government.
The backstory: Several administration officials have already been targeted in a post-impeachment blitz.
Barely 48 hours after Trump was acquitted in the Senate, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — a key national security official who testified during the impeachment inquiry that Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “improper” — was “escorted” out of his White House post.
U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who also testified in the impeachment investigations, was fired the same afternoon.
Trump has also promoted or brought back several people he considers core loyalists — including McEntee, former White House communications director Hope Hicks, and U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell.
The big picture: Since Trump’s Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the “Deep State.” He feels his government — from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security — is filled with “snakes.” He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.