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

  • John McEntee, 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. President Donald Trump's appointees now have less than three months left in post.
  • According to the report, staff could be fired if their bosses hear they're applying for new jobs — but the Associated Press report characterized McEntee's words as a mere warning.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The White House's chief of presidential personnel has threatened to fire staff 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, director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, urged executive branch departments to dismiss staff hunting for new jobs, a senior official told CNN. Two admin officials confirmed this to Axios.

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

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

However, another official told AP that McEntee's remark was just a warning, and was unlikely to bring any dismissals. Instead, McEntee made his statement to encourage staff to remain loyal to Trump while he 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.

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

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

Staffers' contracts are due to end on Sunday, and they haven't been told whether their contracts will be extended, the source said. They are consequently searching for new employment – but shortly after Monday's meeting, an assistant of campaign manager Bill Stepien shouted at a staffer for printing their resume, the source said.

It is unclear whether this is linked to McEntee's announcement from the same day.

Threatening to dismiss staff who hunt for new employment is 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 may 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" that had influenced their beliefs.

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