As CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie says regularly, personnel is policy. And if personnel is policy, then the most important job in the White House when it comes to policy isn’t President, or Vice President, or White House Chief of Staff; it is Director of White House Personnel.
So, those who hoisted the pirate flag and joined the Trump team when he was at 2 percent in the polls and those who defied the DC establishment and put their careers on the line to endorse Trump when half the sitting GOP Senators and dozens of Republican Members of the House declined to do so must wonder what the devil is going on when it was announced that John “Johnny” DeStefano has been appointed Director of White House Personnel.
Mr. DeStefano, 38, has no background in personnel or human resources. However, he is a longtime member of former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s inner circle and a former Republican National Congressional Committee staffer.
In 2006 DeStefano was on House Republican Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce’s staff and was sent to manage her campaign for re-election. His skill helped Pryce eke out a victory in what CNN called the most closely watched campaign in the country.
Subsequently, when Boehner wanted to enforce his will on the National Republican Congressional Committee he made DeStefano deputy executive director of the House GOP campaign committee.
After the GOP took back the House majority and Boehner became Speaker, DeStefano became Senior Advisor for Member Services & New Member Development where part of his job was to staff the newly elected Tea Party class of 2010 with Boehner loyalists who would not encourage their new Bosses to rock the boat.
While still in his twenties, DeStefano served as Boehner’s political director and became very close to Boehner’s former Chief of Staff Barry Jackson.
Jackson is one of the ultimate Washington insiders. After leaving the government when Boehner resigned as Speaker Jackson joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a strategic adviser and the Lindsey Group as a managing director.
At Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Jackson intersected with serial loser Liz Maier, one of the most outspoken anti-Trump establishment Republican operatives, whose third-party group “Make America Awesome Super PAC” did the ad attacking Melania Trump that sparked the “war on the wives” between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
Barry Jackson was also a principal in an operation that funded attack ads against conservative members of the House Republican Conference, including Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Paul Gosar of Arizona and took credit for the GOP primary defeat of Tea Party favorite Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.
So, let’s be clear about who John DeStefano is and why his association with Boehner, Barry Jackson and the core members of the deep state on Capitol Hill matters to implementing Trump’s anti-insider agenda.
When Barry Jackson made his move to the private sector he joked, “It’s sort of like ‘Hotel California… A member of Boehnerland is never allowed to leave.”
Johnny DeStefano’s job as Director of White House Personnel isn’t to hire Trump’s loyal outsiders or check the SAT scores of potential hires to make sure the top applicants get the jobs, it isn’t to vet them for their security clearances or potential conflicts of interest – it is to funnel Capitol Hill staffers loyal to the congressional Republican establishment into key jobs in the executive branch.
How will this work you may ask, when, for the most part, Trump loyalists and outsiders have been tapped for the top Cabinet posts?
It’s simple really.
Most Cabinet posts will not be filled for weeks, and with Democrats promising obstruction they may not be filled for months. However, the non-Senate confirmed posts, Deputy Assistant Secretary and below can be filled with the stroke of a pen, and those are the political appointees who will be there when the new Cabinet Secretaries are confirmed.
And who has already been cleared and knows the ins and outs of government employment? The same Capitol Hill staffers who have been the unseen hands behind GOP support for amnesty for illegal aliens, the growth of government, a $20 trillion national debt and the destruction of the Republican brand for the past two decades and whose revolving door (followed by Barry Jackson for example) between K Street and Capitol Hill is the swamp Donald Trump promised to drain.
Johnny DeStefano is the classic Washington “great guy.” He’s smart, charming, good looking, knows everyone who is anyone, and he knows politics inside and out, but if Donald Trump wants to drain the swamp in DC, appointing DeStefano as Director of White House Personnel will be a major impediment to that goal.