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Melania Trump calls for White House security aide to be fired

15 November 2018

The White House, after a day of uncertainty, confirmed Wednesday that deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel is leaving her position.

Ricardel had argued with Melania Trump about her trip to Africa last month, her first solo trip overseas without the president, three current and two former administration officials told The Washington Post in a report published Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Mrs Trump said: "It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House".

According to news reports, Melania also told her husband she's irked with Chief of Staff John Kelly because he denied her request to promote some of her staff, to which President Trump reportedly responded, telling Kelly "I don't need this shit" and told him to hand out the promotions.

That source and another White House official say Ricardel has never met the first lady.

This is a breaking story and will be updated. National Security Advisor John Bolton, according to CNN, was trying to save his chief deputy's job - even as he's on a trip to Singapore. But the official said she has been given some time to clear out her desk.

The publication reports that Melania's big power grab comes at a time when "infighting among White House staff nearing Civil War-like levels", thus reducing Kelly to being a mere "bystander" instead of a manager. The Washington Post, citing three current and two former White House officials, reported that Ricardel had berated people in meetings and spread rumors about Mattis.

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The dispute made it hard for Ricardel to land in a top post in the Trump administration, though she was ultimately tapped for the position of undersecretary of commerce for export administration. Shortly before the statement was issued, Ricardel was among a group of administration officials and other individuals who stood behind Trump at a White House ceremony celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Ricardel has been key to Bolton's efforts to restructure the National Security Council and to help Bolton secure his place as an influential adviser to the President on all foreign policy matters.

West Wing and NSC officials are more upset at the way the East Wing handled the matter than the substance of the effort to push Ricardel out.

Ricardel has made few friends since she came on board in April, clashing with officials across the administration.

Post midterms, he's already lost one senior member of his administration in former attorney-general Jeff Sessions.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders had no immediate reaction to the first lady's statement.

"More, Do You?" Colbert snarked.

Melania Trump calls for White House security aide to be fired