Melania Trump: Fire deputy national security adviser

Posted November 15, 2018

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.

Trump has berated her during Cabinet meetings, belittled her to other White House staff and tagged her months ago as a "Bushie", a reference to her previous service under president George W. Bush and meant to cast suspicion on her loyalty.

The National Security Council (NSC) had no immediate comment.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also thought to have been marked, but she is now likely to remain in the post for a longer period because there is no obvious successor in place. Later she went on to do doctoral work at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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Grisham's statement was issued shortly after that event ended.

Among her critics has been National Security Adviser John Bolton, who last month was widely reported to have had a shouting match with Kelly right outside the Oval Office over Nielsen's performance.

"Trump was said to be blindsided by the First Lady's statement Tuesday", Collins said.

In a statement on Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that Mrs Ricardel "will continue to support the president". Before her marriage to Vincent Ricardel, she was married to Robert Baratta.

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Turnover among White House personnel paused during the run-up to last week's elections after senior Republicans asked Trump to refrain from firing staff, hoping to minimise perceptions of disorder. A senior administration official told CBS News' Fin Gomez that there has been a first lady staff-led fight against Ricardel, particularly on her trip to Africa over seating and utilizing National Security Council resources.

Tensions have also been rising between Ricardel and chief of staff John Kelly and his deputy Zach Fuentes in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bolton and Ricardel allegedly believe that Mattis is not "ideologically aligned" with Trump, according to Foreign Policy magazine, which quoted a former official saying that the two were trying "to build the sense that he is done for". Sources said officials in the White House press shop were particularly annoyed that they didn't get a heads-up from the East Wing.

But Ricardel seems to have crossed a line in taking on Melania Trump's office over the first lady's trip to Africa in October, making what some viewed as challenging requests and being obstinate, the White House official told CNN.

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Another official was more forgiving: "She'd run through a brick wall for you but her personality isn't for everyone".