Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Security aide sacked after plane dispute with Melania

Security aide sacked after plane dispute with Melania

Late-night hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel delighted Tuesday in news that Melania Trump was flexing her first lady power to get deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel fired from the White House.

The East Wing statement caught senior White House officials by surprise, and White House aides were frustrated with how Ricardel, a Trump loyalist and one of the highest-ranking women in the administration, was being treated.

National security adviser John Bolton tapped Ricardel in April to serve as his deputy, hailing her "track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues". Animosity between two reportedly arose over a dispute about Melania Trump's visit to Africa.

CNN reported that the first lady's statement caught the president off guard and that he was "furious" she put him in this position.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Wednesday that Ricardel will be leaving her post. National Security Advisor John Bolton became aware of Mrs. Trump's complaints, but Ricardel kept her office until this week, when the FLOTUS office publically called for her removal.

"It is the position of the Office of the first lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House", Ms Grisham said of Ms Ricardel in the statement.

Bad blood between Ms Ricardel and Ms Trump and her staff continued for weeks after the trip, with the first lady privately arguing that the NSC's No 2 official was a corrosive influence in the White House and should be dismissed.

A former Trump transition official who is close to Ricardel said Ricardel thinks Mattis "never should have been appointed and thinks he's a Democrat and tells anyone who will listen".

Despite her praise for the chief of staff, Costa pushed Schlapp to discuss whether a woman might be interviewed for Kelly's job if he left.

Ricardel has also built a reputation in the White House for berating staff, several sources said.

She previously served as acting assistant secretary for global security policy under former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Kelly, who has held the high-pressure post for almost 16 months, is facing renewed speculation about his job security amid reports of tension between the West Wing and Mrs. Trump's office over staffing issues.

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