First Lady Melania Trump has gone against convention to publicly criticize an aide in the White House. Mira Ricardel, a deputy national security advisor, is in the middle of this controversy after she apparently went too far when she disparaged two members of Melania’s staff during her trip to Africa last month. Ricardel has also been accused of bad-mouthing the Secretary of Defense James Mattis and driving out members of the National Security Council who were deemed too “liberal” or not loyal enough to serve the interest of the powers that be.
These things weren’t that important for Melania but when the aide disparaged members of her staff, she couldn’t take it any longer. Ricardel is also a big supporter of John Bolton, the combative national security adviser who was brought in by president Trump a few months ago.
The Trump White House has never been short of drama. But this is one of the rare times that Melania is part of the story. In an email sent to reporters by Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady, Melania Trump made it clear that Mira Ricardel doesn’t “deserve the honor to serve in the White House.” The email came in barely an hour after Ricardel appeared with the president during an official event at the White House.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Ricardel had already been fired. A report by the Wall Street Journal appeared to suggest that she had been escorted out of the White House in an apparent dismissal. But other reports emerged later noting that Ricardel had simply been corrected for her mistake and is still employed. The First Lady had expressed her reservations about Ricardel for weeks. Speaking with top aides at the White House, Melania had warned that the deputy national security advisor is spreading negative stories including some about her.
Melania Trump has often stayed clear of the day to day activities in the White House. This is, in fact, the first time the First Lady has come out publicly to criticize someone in the Trump administration. According to people familiar with the matter, the conflict started during Melania’s trip to Africa. Reports indicate that Ricardel announced the Africa trip even before it was fully planned. In addition to this, the deputy national security advisor is reported to have threatened to pull out resources for the trip after it emerged that she didn’t have a seat in the First Lady’s plane. After the trip, Ricardel was accused of making false accusations of inappropriate behavior against one of Melania’s most trusted aides Lindsay Reynolds. Reynolds is Melania’s chief of staff.
People close to the matter say that the First Lady raised the issue with the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly who in turn raised the issue with John Bolton. However, the national security advisor didn’t take any action against Ricardel who happens to be under his leadership. Ricardel is a hard hitter when it comes to foreign policy. She has always been at odds with people of different administrations where she has served.