Melania Trump calls for deputy national security adviser to be fired

BanglaPress Desk
November 15, 2018

Banglapress Online: First Lady Melania Trump, in an extraordinary move, is calling for the ouster of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira ­Ricardel.
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Melania’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement Tuesday.
It’s highly unusual for a first lady to publicly demand the firing of an administration staff member. But Ricardel got into a fight with Melania’s staff during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month, with spats over seating on the plane and using National Security Council resources, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ricardel ended up not going on the trip.
The first lady’s team later told the president that they suspected she leaked negative stories about his wife to the press. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his senior aide, Zach Fuentes, also believed Ricardel was feeding negative stories to the news media about them, CNN reported.
And The Washington Post reported that Ricardel has had her share of run-ins with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. National Security Advisor John Bolton named Ricardel his top aide in April, following her stints at the Commerce, Defense and State departments.
“I selected her as deputy national security adviser because her expertise is broad-based and includes national security matters related to our alliances, defense posture, technology security, foreign security assistance and arms control,” Bolton said in a statement at the time.
One official who worked with her described Ricardel as someone who speaks her mind and isn’t easily intimidated.
“She’s a very tough woman, very smart, does not suffer fools well. And if you happen to be the fool, she will let you know,” The Heritage Foundation’s Steven Bucci, who served with Ricardel at the Pentagon, said at the time of her appointment.
“She’s not terribly intimidated by much of anyone. She’s not a yes person at all. She can have very sharp elbows when she needs to.”
In a bit of awkward timing, Ricardel joined President Trump and other officials at the White House earlier Tuesday to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali.There was no immediate comment from the National Security Council.
During Melania’s trip to Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Egypt, she told ABC News that there are people in the White House whom she and the president cannot trust.
She wouldn’t name anyone, but said she had let the president know who they are. “Well,” she said, “some people, they don’t work there anymore.”
Asked if some untrustworthy people still worked in the White House, she replied, “Yes.” The president was questioned about staff turnover last week when reporters asked if Kelly was about to pack up.
“I haven’t heard about John Kelly. But, no, people — people leave. They come in, they’re here. It’s a very exhausting job,” Trump said. “And I’ll tell you, there will be changes.”