White House abruptly transfers DHS official amid loyalty purge

Swift, who has not yet left the department, switches to a top communications job at the National Endowment for the Arts, a detour well outside the administration’s power corridors.

The transfer is a new blow to Swift’s career goals: A few months ago, after working as senior public affairs officer at the DHS for a few months, she was permanently on the job – only to be disappointed if she wasn’t promoted, according to one Trump administration officials. Instead, the position went to Dirk Vande Beek, an experienced communications strategist who came from the Department of Energy and also worked on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign.

Since taking over the PPO, 29-year-old John McEntee has asked cabinet agencies to review the records of the politically appointed people and to find those who could show signs of infidelity to the president. McEntee, a former college quarterback known for his trick games and long-time Trump favorites, has also come under fire within the administration because he recently hired three college seniors for sensitive jobs.

A former official hard pushed back the idea that Swift was in any way against Trump and called her a Trump acolyte who “loves the president” and didn’t want to leave the department. Swift was a good team player, was very popular with her employees and colleagues, and worked hard to achieve the department’s mission, she said.

Swift and DHS made no comment on this story, and a White House spokesman declined to consider Swift’s transfer, referring to the policy of not commenting on internal personnel matters.

Swift has been with the Trump administration since early 2017, having served as press secretary for then Home Secretary Ryan Zinke before becoming senior adviser to the department. Zinke resigned in December 2018 after multiple reviews of whether he had used his position for personal gain, and Swift joined DHS in August last year.

She had previously worked as Zinke’s communications director when he was a member of the house. She also worked on other Republican campaigns, including a brief spell as press spokeswoman for former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson during his unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2012.

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