White House personnel chief reportedly threatens to fire staff who look for new jobs before Trump's term ends

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White House personnel chief reportedly threatens to fire staff who look for new jobs before Trump's term ends
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
  • John McEntee, the director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, has threatened to fire political appointees if they look for another job before President Donald Trump's term in office ends, the Associated Press, CNN, and Axios reported Monday.
  • Each administration appoints about 4,000 political staff members. President Donald Trump's appointees now have less than three months left in post.
  • One unnamed official expressed doubt to the Associated Press that the threat would result in firings.

The White House's chief of presidential personnel has threatened to fire staff members if they look for another job before President Donald Trump's term in office ends, the Associated Press, CNN and Axios reported Monday.

John McEntee, the director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, urged executive-branch departments to dismiss staff members hunting for new jobs, a senior official told CNN. Two administration officials confirmed this to Axios.

Officials are now worried about young staffers who will soon need to find new employment, CNN's source said.

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Each administration has about 4,000 political appointees. These workers leave when a new administration comes into office, meaning that current appointees have less than three months left in their current post.

One unnamed official, however, expressed doubt to the AP that the threat attributed to McEntee would result in dismissals. The source said McEntee made his statement to encourage staff to remain loyal to Trump as the president refuses to concede, the source said.

When approached by CNN, the White House declined to comment. The White House didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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Read more: Legal problems galore await Trump now that he's lost reelection — and, soon, his presidential immunity

Separately, one source on Monday told CNN that leaders of the Trump campaign told staffers at a last-minute meeting that the election wasn't over and urged them to "stay in the fight."

Campaign staffers' contracts are due to end Sunday, however, and they haven't been told whether their contracts will be extended, the source said.

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Threatening to dismiss staff members who hunt for new employment would be the latest in a series of moves McEntee has made to test commitment to Trump.

In February, he asked cabinet secretaries to identify appointees who might be disloyal to Trump.

The month after, CNN accessed a questionnaire that McEntee had asked prospective hires to fill in. The form asked applicants to describe their "political evolution" and to list "thinkers, authors, books, or political leaders" who had influenced their beliefs.

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