On the latest Pablo Torre Finds Out, Pablo enlists the help of Devin Gordon to find out how a former quarterback for the University of Connecticut became a key part of former President Trump’s inner circle.
The key to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign might be Trick-Shot Johnny Mac — the former viral UConn QB — whose rise included the ability to tap cabinet secretaries and diplomats.— Pablo Torre Finds Out (@pablofindsout) November 7, 2023
"When you hear someone on the news talk about a person being hand-picked by Donald Trump, Johnny… pic.twitter.com/iPWtlXycwP
Prior to joining Trump’s inner circle, Johnny McEntee was best known for viral trick-shot videos on YouTube and for being the starting quarterback for the 2011 UConn Huskies football team. In his UConn career, McEntee completed 182 of 360 passes for 2,209 yards with 13 touchdowns compared to 10 INTs.
Gordon notes that the QB once known as “Johnny Mac” has one of the most unique arcs of anybody he’s ever covered. Gordon says if you’re trying to get a sense of McEntee, close your eyes and picture the All-American quarterback. He’s handsome, in some ways similar to a Ken doll, but Gordon also notes that he’s super comfortable in his own skin, to the point of showing up for their interview in shorts and sneakers. Gordon notes that he rolled up alone, no hair and makeup like he just woke up like this, and appeared very friendly. It’s fair to say he’s instantly likable and to understand why people like to have him around.
You know this guy, you’ve seen this guy, Gordon says, although he notes that McEntee was never under any illusions he would play in the NFL. Pablo points out that the football trick shot wasn’t really a thing before Johnny Mac and is a genuinely deserving footnote in sports internet history while Gordon agrees that he started something.
Gordon notes that there was, however, a trick-shot predecessor, a member of the UConn Women’s basketball team, doing trick shots around campus. So Johnny was encouraged to take his trick shot talents and make a response of his own. Pablo points out that this was his first taste of what he calls “cable news juice” and Gordon says there is something innate about Johnny’s ability to go viral before you even know what the concept of virality is.
Pablo wants to know what Johnny Mac’s rep was in the UConn locker room at the time. Gordon notes that McEntee was referenced as the designated driver and as someone who didn’t drink, defying the stereotypes of rowdy D1 quarterbacks by being quite disciplined.
So, Pablo asks, how did McEntee go from a ground game of -148 career rushing yards to the Trump ground game? McEntee says during the 2012 Romney-Obama campaign, while not playing on the field, he was paying a little more attention. But it was his then-girlfriend who predicted that he would go into politics someday. Eventually, while in New York he met a guy who worked at Fox News and pointed him in the direction of the digital team. McEntee was at Fox News when Trump made his campaign announcement and while others mocked it he was enthralled and knew he wanted to work for him.
Eventually, McEntee says he kept emailing the Trump campaign until he finally became a volunteer, quitting his job at Fox and starting at the very bottom. But, Gordon points out that very quickly he would “start going up the golden escalator.” So why does Johnny Mac think the former president took a shine to him?
Johnny McEntee, the former UConn QB who worked his way up to become Donald Trump's "secret weapon" while in the White House, believes he was able to advance so quickly in the Trump administration because of what he looked like.— Pablo Torre Finds Out (@pablofindsout) November 7, 2023
"I know he liked Central Casting. He probably… pic.twitter.com/SpE3VLBWZR
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Donald Trump’s Secret Weapon Is a Quarterback
- Johnny McEntee went viral before virality, as a trick-shot QB at UConn. He foresaw the rise of Donald Trump, while ordering him KFC on the campaign trail. He was straight out of central casting, but suddenly “Johnny Mac” the quarterback became enforcer-in-chief for the commander-in-chief, running a presidential “Gestapo” and hand-picking cabinet secretaries. Correspondent Devin Gordon meets a Trumpworld action figure and asks: How did this in-over-his-head loyalist get so powerful? And could it happen again?
Check out the Pablo Torre Finds Out YouTube page for more and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the show on X at @pablofindsout and Pablo at @pablotorre.
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