Amid reports of a clash between first lady Melania Trump and Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, the former has made a public call for the latter’s ouster.
According to Bloomberg, the first lady’s spokeswoman made it clear where Trump stands on the woman serving just below National Security Adviser John Bolton.
“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 said.
The statement came in response to reports that Trump had petitioned for Ricardel to be removed from the position.
Reuters cited several sources familiar with the situation who said the relationship between Trump and Ricardel suffered irreparable damage during the first lady’s trip to Africa earlier this year.
According to one source, communications leading up to that tour “didn’t go well.”
Another individual described funding for the October trip as a central sticking point. Specifically, Trump reportedly felt that Ricardel’s office did not offer sufficient National Security Council resources for the mission.
One source cited by Bloomberg suggested that Ricardel attempted to leverage government resources in an effort to join the group of people traveling with the first lady.
Another Reuters source said Ricardel had “sort of alienated” almost everyone in the administration. Her lone ally, the source indicated, is Bolton, her boss.
There is no indication President Donald Trump is prepared to act on his wife’s recommendation, but multiple reports this week point to additional staffing shakeups following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ forced resignation Wednesday.
As CNN reported, Trump hinted at administration departures during a news conference following the midterm elections.
The president said there was “no great secret” in crafting the right Cabinet and team of support staff, promising transparency with reporters through the process.
“As we make changes, we’ll sit down and talk to you about it,” he said.
Trump noted that “a lot of administrations make changes after midterms” and advised that he is “very, very happy” with his Cabinet.
“We’re doing a great job,” he said, although he acknowledged future departures are likely.
“People leave,” the president said. “They come in, they’re here. It’s a very exhausting job. I love doing it, I must tell you. But it’s exhausting for a lot of people.”
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