The Trump Administration Is Now Doing Actual Loyalty Tests for Political Appointees

"What part of candidate Trump's campaign message most appealed to you and why?”
March 5, 2020, 3:18pm
President Donald Trump talks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on March 3, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA (Sipa via AP Images)

Donald Trump’s well-known obsession with loyalty has reached a new peak. The administration is sending a questionnaire to potential political appointees which asks questions such as, "What part of candidate Trump's campaign message most appealed to you and why?” CBS News reported on Wednesday.

In addition to asking the candidate for their social media profiles and references, the questionnaire asks them about their “political evolution,” as well as for a list of media appearances where they’ve commented on Trump. It also asks why the candidate wants to work for the Trump administration, and where they see themselves working after they leave.

Former Obama administration officials told CBS News that these types of questions weren’t asked of political appointees under the previous administration. “Those questions are opposite of everything we stood for,” one former official told CBS News. “We went out of our way to not ask those types of political questions.”

The questionnaire, the existence of which has been previously reported but was published by CBS, was developed by Trump’s new presidential personnel director Johnny McEntee.

McEntee, a 29-year-old former personal assistant to Trump, rejoined the White House last month after being fired in March 2018 because he couldn’t obtain a security clearance, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal at the time as being related to the mishandling of his taxes and online gambling issues. The questionnaire also includes a question asking if there’s anything in the candidate’s background that could “potentially embarrass” the administration.

Cover: President Donald Trump talks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on March 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump is scheduled to visit the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. (Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)