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New White House questionnaire serves as litmus test for potential appointees

A White House questionnaire being sent to potential political appointees appears to be a litmus test of the applicant's loyalty to the president.

The questionnaire, a copy of which was obtained by CBS News, includes questions like, "What part of candidate Trump's campaign message most appealed to you and why?" The questionnaire also asks potential appointees to describe their political evolution and to list media appearances in which they've commented about Mr. Trump.

"The purpose of this document is to expedite Presidential Personnel's vetting process," it says, before asking the applicant to list all social media accounts and references. 

The survey is a product of new presidential personnel director Johnny McEntee, who rejoined the administration recently after he was escorted out of the White House in 2018 while under a security-related investigation. CBS News previously reported McEntee has been scouring the administration for political appointees deemed disloyal to the president. The White House Presidential Personnel Office is responsible for vetting administration appointees. 

A source considering a role in the administration confirmed to CBS News that filling out the questionnaire was part of the application. CNN first reported the existence of the questionnaire.

Two Obama White House officials said the previous administration did not ask potential appointees about their political leanings or affinity for President Obama. 

One Obama staffer who dealt with personnel appointments expressed misgivings about the Trump administration questionnaire. "Those questions are opposite of everything we stood for. We went out of our way to not ask those types of political questions," the former Obama official said. 

Loyalty has long been an indispensable quality to the president, but McEntee is spelling out that quality more explicitly in the application process.  

Mr. Trump has been bringing back on board aides he believes he can trust, including McEntee and former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who is slated to rejoin the administration this month in a senior role. 

— CBS News' Kathryn Watson contributed to this report 

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