First Lady Calls for Firing of WH Aide 11/14 06:18
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an extraordinary move, Melania Trump called publicly
Tuesday for the deputy national security adviser to be dismissed.
After reports circulated Tuesday that President Donald Trump had decided to
remove Mira Ricardel from her post at the National Security Council, Stephanie
Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, released a statement that said: "It is
the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the
honor of serving in this White House."
Shortly before the statement was issued, Ricardel was among a group of
administration officials and other individuals who stood behind President Trump
at a White House ceremony celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the first lady's staff and
Ricardel had clashed during Mrs. Trump's visit to Africa in October over such
things as seating on the airplane and requests to use the council's resources.
A White House official told The Associated Press that Ricardel wanted to
travel to Africa with the first lady but was denied seating on the airplane
because there was no room for her and several others who initially expected to
make the trip. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss
White House personnel matters, said Ricardel then threatened not to send any
Ricardel also is known to have clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
over Pentagon political appointee choices since early in his tenure. And
Pentagon officials have said privately they believe Ricardel had a hand in
spreading rumors this year about Mattis falling from favor with the White House
and perhaps departing.
Asked by a reporter today about Mrs. Trump's office saying Ricardel no
longer deserves to work in the White House, Mattis said, "I don't comment on
other people's staffing issues."
A spokesman for the National Security Council had no immediate comment.
Mrs. Trump is very protective of her husband and is considered to be an
influential adviser, as many first ladies have been with their spouses.
She is also one of the most private first ladies in recent memory, which
made the public announcement about her displeasure with a top West Wing
official all the more surprising.
In an interview with ABC News during the five-day trip to Ghana, Mali, Kenya
and Egypt last month, the first lady said there are people in the White House
whom she and the president cannot trust. She declined to 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, Mrs.
Trump replied, "Yes."
Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush, said there's
a lesson in the current first lady's public pronouncement.
"The president supports Mrs. Trump's activities and her work, which should
be the signal to the rest of the staff to support her, too," McBride, who has
worked for three Republican presidents, said via email.