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White House Presidential Personnel Office

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

White House Office of Presidential Personnel
Agency overview
HeadquartersEisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C., U.S.
38°53′51.24″N 77°2′20.93″W / 38.8975667°N 77.0391472°W / 38.8975667; -77.0391472
Agency executive
Parent departmentWhite House Office

The White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO, sometimes written as Office of Presidential Personnel) is the White House Office tasked with vetting new appointees.[1][2] Its offices are on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.[2] The PPO is one of the offices most responsible for assessing candidates to work at or for the White House.[3]

The Office is responsible for approximately 4,000 political appointment positions, of which 1,600 require Senate confirmation.[4] The White House Presidential Office recruits candidates to serve in departments and agencies throughout the Executive Branch. It presents candidates for presidential appointments with Senate confirmation (PAS) to the Senate after they have been approved by the President of the United States.[5] The mission of the office is to provide the president with the best applicants possible for presidency-appointed positions. Lastly, it also provides policy guidance for federal department and agency heads on conduct for political activities.[6]

As of 2018, the PPO was made up of about 30 members, about one-third of its usual staff. The professionalism of the PPO under President Trump has been challenged, with The Washington Post reporting that the office was staffed with largely-inexperienced personnel.[2][7]


The responsibilities of the Presidential Personnel Office include:

  • handling and processing recommendations from political figures.[6]
  • keeping a talent bank of qualified, cleared candidates on hand.[6]
  • search for job candidates:
    • executive search.[6]
    • screening interviews.[6]
    • candidate evaluation.[6]
    • security clearance.[6]
    • conflict of interest clearance.[6]
    • forwarding recommendations to the president.[6]


The White House Personnel Office (WHPO) was created by Frederick V. Malek in 1971 to standardize the White House's hiring process.[8][9] In 1974, President Gerald Ford renamed the WHPO to the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) and restructured it to focus more on presidential appointments, relying more on department heads to secure non-presidential appointments in their departments.[8][6]

On January 4, 2017, President Donald Trump named Johnny DeStefano Director of PPO in the incoming Trump administration.[10] On January 30, 2017, DeStefano wrote a letter to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informing her of her dismissal.[11] DeStefano left the position on May 24, 2019.[12]

In January 2020, Trump appointed John McEntee Director of PPO,[13] reporting directly to Trump, who tasked him with identifying and removing political appointees and career officials deemed insufficiently loyal to the Trump administration.[14][15][16][17][18] On October 21, 2020, two weerks before the 2020 elections, President Trump signed an executive order creating a new Schedule F category within the excepted service for employees “in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making and policy-advocating positions”. He also instructed agencies to identify and transfer competitive service employees that meet that description into the new job classification, an initiative that could strip hundreds of thousands of federal workers of their civil service protections and effectively make them at-will employees. Reviews by agencies are due at the PPO by January 19, 2021, a day before the end of the Trump presidency.[19]



  1. ^ "White House Offices". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 30, 2018. The Presidential Personnel Office recruits, screens, and recommends qualified candidates for Presidential appointments to Federal departments and agencies.
  2. ^ a b c d O'Harrow Jr., Robert; Boburg, Shawn (March 30, 2018). "Behind the chaos: Office that vets Trump appointees plagued by inexperience". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Shirley Anne Warshaw. Powersharing: White House-Cabinet Relations in the Modern Presidency. SUNY Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-4384-2331-9.
  4. ^ Bowden, John (2018-03-30). "Office that vets Trump appointees faces staff shortage, inexperience: report". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  5. ^ "Presidential Departments | The White House". The White House. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "PRESIDENTIAL PERSONNEL OFFICE FILES, (1953–73) 1974–77". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  7. ^ Bowden, John (March 30, 2018). "Office that vets Trump appointees faces staff shortage, inexperience: report". The Hill.
  8. ^ a b Michael Nelson (1 May 2015). Guide to the Presidency. Routledge. p. 492. ISBN 978-1-135-91462-2.
  9. ^ Naughton, James M. (July 12, 1971). "Nixon's Talent Hunter Also Wields Executive Hatchet". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Nussbaum, Matthew. "Trump announces 11 more White House hires". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  11. ^ Apuzzo, Michael D. Shear, Mark Landler, Matt; Lichtblau, Eric (30 January 2017). "Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Who Defied Him" – via
  12. ^ Dawsey, Josh; Sonmez, Felicia (May 21, 2019). "Long-serving Trump aide DeStefano to depart White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Tenpas, Kathryn Dunn (2020-10-07). "Tracking turnover in the Trump administration". Brookings Institute. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  14. ^ Haberman, Maggie (2019-12-14). "Ex-Trump Aide Is Expected to Return to White House". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  15. ^ Shear, Michael D.; Haberman, Maggie (February 13, 2020). "Trump Places Loyalists in Key Jobs Inside the White House While Raging Against Enemies Outside". The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Olorunnipa, Toluse; Parker, Ashley; Dawsey, Josh (2020-02-22). "Trump embarks on expansive search for disloyalty as administration-wide purge escalates". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-10-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Diamond, Jeremy; Acosta, Jim; Collins, Kaitlan; Holmes, Kristen (2020-02-21). "President's new personnel head tells agencies to look out for disloyal staffers". CNN. Retrieved 2020-10-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^
  19. ^ ‘Stunning’ Executive Order Would Politicize Civil Service
  20. ^ a b Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1978, Book 2: June 30 to December 31, 1978. Government Printing Office. p. 1787. ISBN 978-0-16-058934-8.
  21. ^ "JAMES, E. PENDLETON: Files, 1981–1982 – REAGAN LIBRARY COLLECTIONS" (PDF). Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. October 5, 2016. p. 1. When Reagan assumed the Presidency in January 1981, James became head of the Office of Presidential Personnel.
  22. ^ a b "GEORGE H.W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY GUIDE TO HOLDINGS" (PDF). George Bush Presidential Library. March 8, 2011. p. 86. Charles G. Untermeyer, Assistant to the President and Director 1/21/89–8/24/91 [...] Constance Horner, Assistant to the President and Director 1991–1993
  23. ^ Shirley Anne Warshaw (14 May 2014). The Clinton Years. Infobase Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-8160-7459-4.
  24. ^ "Board of Directors". Clinton Foundation. Retrieved July 30, 2018. In 1993, Bruce was also director of the Office of Presidential Personnel where he supervised the selection and approval of political appointees in the Cabinet departments and to Presidential boards and commissions.
  25. ^ Epstein, Jennifer (June 25, 2013). "Personnel chief Nancy Hogan to leave the White House". Politico. Hogan briefly served as chief of staff for White House personnel in early 2009, before taking the lead in the office in July 2009.
  26. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T., eds. (July 8, 2013). "Press Release – White House Announces Nancy Hogan to Step Down; Jonathan McBride to Serve as Assistant to the President & Director of Presidential Personnel". University of California, Santa Barbara. Nancy Hogan was appointed Director of the Presidential Personnel office in August, 2009.
  27. ^
  28. ^
This page was last edited on 4 May 2021, at 10:20
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