Trump's loyal 'body guy', 30, tried to write up order pulling troops out of ... trends now
'This doesn't look right,' said retired Lt. Gen Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, as he looked at the military directive ordering U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and Somalia.
Gen Mark Milley, the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Donald Trump's top military adviser, could not hide his disbelief during the meeting in late 2020.
'You're telling me that thing is forged?' he said 'That's a forged piece of paper directing a military operation by the president of the United States?'
The extraordinary moment is revealed in a new book, 'Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party', by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
It describes how a 30-year-old aide led a chaotic effort to bring home American troops.
U.S. troops spent 20 years fighting in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump wanted to bring them home before the end of his presidency but had no idea how to do it
Presidential Personnel Office director John McEntee in 2020. He took on an increasingly important role in the final days of Donald Trump's presidency later that year
And it sets out the horror of seasoned officials as they realized Trump and his loyalists had sidestepped the usual policy process, with its lawyerly checks and balances, in an effort to reshape the nation's military posture.
The young aide was John McEntee, a former college quarterback who began working for Trump at the age of 25 as his 'body guy,' carrying around the presidential candidate's bags and relaying messages.
He had been fired in 2018 when a background check turned up a gambling habit that was so serious it was seen as a potential national security risk.
But a change of White House chief of staff brought him back, this time as director of the Presidential Personnel Office, responsible for hiring and firing staff.
He went about his work with the zeal of a loyalist, rooting out anyone he deemed insufficiently Trumpist.
After the 2020 election, during Trump's final weeks in power, he took on an even more important role, writes Karl in an excerpt published by Vanity Fair: He was central to the removal of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and replacing him with Christopher Miller and his senior adviser Douglas Macgregor.
While some details of the story have been reported previously, what happened next was unearthed by the congressional January 6 Committee's investigation but never published.
Trump is seen with McEntee outside the Oval Office of the