Senior White House aide set to be fired after Melania Trump calls for dismissal

  • Mira Ricardel is deputy security adviser and a John Bolton ally
  • Ricardel reportedly clashed with members of first lady’s staff

Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser is reportedly set to be fired following a dispute with the first lady, Melania Trump.

The US first lady took the extraordinary step of publicly pushing for the move against Mira Ricardel, the top aide to the national security adviser, John Bolton, on Tuesday.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement.

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It marked a rare intervention on personnel matters by Melania Trump, who has otherwise maintained a relatively low profile as first lady.

Ricardel, who was hired in April by Bolton after he assumed the role of Trump’s national security adviser, reportedly clashed with members of the first lady’s staff over seating on a plane during Melania Trump’s recent trip to Africa.

The East Wing staff have reportedly complained that Ricardel feuded with them over the use of national security council resources. Ricardel also shared a contentious rapport with White House chief of staff John Kelly and the defense secretary, Jim Mattis.

A senior Trump administration official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Guardian that Ricardel remained at the White House on Tuesday. She was pictured standing close to Trump earlier in the day at a White House event to belatedly mark Diwali.

Ricardel’s possible exit comes as the Trump administration is bracing for a potentially major shake-up following last week’s midterm elections, which began with the firing of the attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

The president was reportedly considering replacements for Kelly, and Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of the department of homeland security. Reports surfaced late on Monday that Trump was preparing to remove Nielsen, a close ally of Kelly’s with whom the president has grown frustrated over immigration enforcement.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Nielsen’s departure, although not yet finalized, is imminent.

Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman, sought to downplay the rumors, stating: “The secretary is honored to lead the men and women of DHS and is committed to implementing the president’s security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so.”

Ricardel, who previously worked in the commerce department, has been an integral part of Bolton’s efforts to restructure the NSC. Bolton, one of Ricardel’s only remaining allies in the administration, was traveling in Asia with Vice-President Mike Pence on Tuesday.


Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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