Senior White House officials are mulling bringing President Donald Trump’s personal aide and body man John McEntee back into the administration just days after he was abruptly escorted out of the West Wing.
White House chief of staff John Kelly told aides during a Friday morning senior staff meeting that there are tentative discussions about finding a role for McEntee in the administration, according to a person familiar with the meeting. The person added that Kelly and others in the West Wing believe McEntee has been unfairly maligned in the media.
A second administration official and a person close to the White House confirmed that aides have talked about rehiring McEntee, though it’s unclear how advanced those discussions are.
White House aides were shocked when McEntee, one of Trump’s most trusted aides, was let go earlier this week. In a sign of his status with the president, he was immediately hired as a senior adviser for Trump’s reelection campaign.
The exact reasons for McEntee’s dismissal are still unclear, but multiple people familiar with the issue said it pertained to his propensity for high-dollar gambling, as The Washington Post reported Thursday night. The Post noted that the gambling wasn’t illegal, but there were concerns it made McEntee a potential security risk.
It’s unclear what McEntee would have to do to reassure White House officials ahead of his possible return, and aides said discussions about rehiring him are still in the early stages.
Administration officials have privately expressed deep frustration about the initial reporting on McEntee’s departure. CNN and other news outlets said earlier this week that McEntee was under investigation for “serious financial crimes.”
McEntee is beloved among many of Trump’s senior staff and he is one of the rare West Wing aides who has won the president’s trust. A former University of Connecticut quarterback who gained notoriety for a viral trick shot YouTube video, McEntee joined the Trump campaign as a volunteer in 2015. He was a regular presence at Trump’s side until his departure this week.
White House spokespeople did not respond to multiple requests for comment. McEntee couldn’t be reached for comment.