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15 November 2018, 02:44 | Ivan Casey
Trump Expected To Fire Kirstjen Nielsen in the Coming Weeks
The First Lady said that Mira Ricardel, the deputy national security adviser, should be dismissed.
Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit USA troops at the border in south Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible, these officials said.
Noting reports that Trump and Ricardel had clashed over seating arrangements on her flight to Africa, Kimmel joked, "Ricardel wanted Melania to sit in the middle section of the plane, and Melania wanted to jump out of it". Ricardel could not be reached for comment.
Ricardel was raised in Pasadena, the child of a Croatian immigrant and went on to study at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and then do doctoral work at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
She had earlier worked in the defence department under former President George W Bush as well as under Republican Senator Bob Dole when he served as the Senate Majority Leader.
"It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House", Stephanie Grisham, communications director for the first lady, told CBS News in an email Tuesday.
National security adviser John Bolton, who hand picked Ricardel as his deputy, was traveling overseas as Tuesday's events unfolded. Before her marriage to Vincent Ricardel, she was married to Robert Baratta. In the months since Ricardel's arrival at the NSC, White House sources have repeatedly leaking stories to the press saying that Ricardel and Bolton were spreading rumors about Mattis' imminent departure in an effort to pressure the Pentagon chief to leave.
West Wing officials were caught off guard on Tuesday by the statement from the first lady's spokeswoman targeting Ricardel, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Which means in Mr Trump's White House a high staff turnover, among other breaks with tradition, might just be the new ordinary. The former transition official characterized Ricardel as "smart and tough", but acknowledged that she is not always effective at navigating "internal politics".
White House officials were generally aware of the tensions between Ricardel and the first lady's office stemming from the Africa trip, but were stunned to see the first lady take such a public stance against a senior staffer through her spokeswoman.
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