A former White House official and now senior adviser with The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 joined “The Kevin Roberts Show” podcast to discuss his time working with President Donald Trump and how other conservatives can get their foot in the door to work for the next conservative administration.
John McEntee was the director of the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office under Trump. He joined Project 2025 to help the next conservative president with ready-for-hire presential appointments.
A Heritage Foundation statement issued when McEntee joined Project 2025 in May 2023 said he would “play a vital role supporting the personnel pillar of Project 2025. Embracing the motto that ‘personnel is policy.’” (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)
The former White House official told Heritage President Kevin Roberts that he hopes the project will “help us [conservatives] hit the ground running in January of 2025.”
McEntee originally served as a personal aide to Trump during the first half of his presidency. He traveled with the president, notably to Saudi Arabia in 2017. There he went viral on Twitter as a mysterious “Red Tie Man” due to a photo of him and the Trump delegation.
Trump later tapped McEntee to lead his personnel office. The former White House official recounted when the president asked him to lead the Presidential Personnel Office, also known as the PPO.
“He [Trump] said, ‘What’s on the schedule today?’ … I said, ‘You have your PPO meeting.’ He said, ‘PPO? … Oh, I’ve always had so many problems with that office.’ … And then he just looked at me and said, ‘Do you think you could run that office?’”
Roberts asked about working with the president, to which McEntee commented, “Working in the White House is exactly like the movies. It’s very fast-paced; there’s a lot going on. You’re watching history unfold right before your eyes. You’re on a helicopter, you’re on Air Force One—it’s just very exciting.”
The Roberts interview shifted to the current presidential election and McEntee’s work with Project 2025. Roberts asked McEntee whether a conservative president should clean house and fire a large swath of government employees from the executive branch.
McEntee said, “Maybe competency is more important than expertise and people that can adapt, you know? Some fresh blood in there might actually be better than someone that’s been there for 30 years but has gotten us into a lot of these problems.”
Roberts touched briefly on a separate project McEntee works on, a dating app called The Right Stuff. After the 2020 elections, the former Trump official created what he called a “dating app for conservatives.” Describing the necessity of conservatives dating within their own political sphere, McEntee said, “The No. 1 thing conservatives can do is stick together. And especially when it comes to dating or creating a family.”
Toward the end of the podcast, the Heritage president asked McEntee what those interested in working under a conservative administration should do. McEntee responded saying the best thing they can do is set up an account on Project 2025’s Presidential Personnel Database at www.project2025.org.
According to Heritage, individuals can develop a profile and upload a résumé for review. The Project 2025 team will review applicants and match them to federal agencies and offer personnel suggestions to an eventual transition team should a conservative president be elected.
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