Melania Trump made a shocking and unprecedented demand on Tuesday, publicly saying that a top national security aide who reportedly pushed back against her trip to Africa should be fired.
On Tuesday afternoon, the first lady’s spokeswoman released a statement saying that national security adviser Mira Ricardel should be fired. As CNN reported, Melania Trump had never waded so deep into politics and in such a public manner, and past first ladies have also refrained from making calls for officials to be fired.
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that (Ricardel) no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” the first lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Tuesday.
The CNN report noted that there were already reports that Ricardel would be fired shortly, as she had been in the position for less than seven months. Ricardel was seen as a close ally of National Security Adviser John Bolton and had reportedly come into conflict with Melania Trump’s office over the cost and resources used on the first lady’s recent trip to Africa.
“One person familiar with the matter said Ricardel quarreled with the first lady’s staff over seating on the plane and use of National Security Council resources,” the report noted. “A White House official accused Ricardel of being dishonest about the feud and subsequently leaking stories to try to cover her behavior.”
In a stunning move, Melania Trump calls for ouster of a top national security aidehttps://t.co/AybhN0Vi5y— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 13, 2018
As the Washington Post reported, Mira Ricardel came to the White House with an extensive background in high-level security positions. She had worked as undersecretary of commerce and also held top positions at the State and Defense Departments, and the report noted that Bolton praised her “track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues.”
Though it may have been unprecedented for Melania Trump to make such a strong political statement and to wade into the hiring and firing decisions of her husband’s administration, it seems to mark a recent trend for the first lady. A report earlier in the day on Tuesday indicated that Melania was at the forefront of Chief of Staff John Kelly’s expected ouster from the White House.
As NBC News reported, these moves were especially unusual coming from a first lady.
“It’s an extraordinary, if not unprecedented, move for the first lady’s office to publicly call for the firing of a NSC official. Ricardel was seen at an official White House event with the president as Grisham’s statement was issued.”
Despite the call from Melania Trump, there was no indication that Donald Trump had yet fired Mira Ricardel.