Trump's Top Aide To Step Down, Day After Melania Called For Removal

GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT  AFP

A transoceanic staff crisis that engulfed the National Security Council this week is partly rooted in a bureaucratic dispute over the seating arrangements aboard Ms Trump's plane to Africa last month during her maiden solo trip overseas. Her office also suspected Ricardel of being the source of negative press about the first lady and her staff.

On Tuesday, Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, released a statement saying: "It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House".

The start to the second half of Donald Trump's first term is enveloped in gloom as the president surveys the damage from the midterms, tension with some of America's closest allies, and now turmoil inside the administration.

A senior White House official whom First Lady Melania Trump demanded be removed from her post has been transferred, the Trump administration said on Wednesday (Nov 14). National Security Advisor John Bolton became aware of Mrs. Trump's complaints, but Ricardel kept her office until this week, when the FLOTUS office publically called for her removal.

He continued: "And like honestly, I don't even know who this is, Mira Ricardel-who is this person that they are firing?"

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.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive internal matter, said Ricardel never met the first lady and dismissed reports that Ricardel was trying to secure a seat for herself on the first lady's trip.

Melania Trump was angry that Mr Kelly had refused to promote some of her aides, reports say.

Facing Trump's ire at the same time is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whom the president believes is too slow to implement his tough-on-illegal-immigrants border control policies.

The other main takeaway from Trump's trip was a PR blunder when the White House cancelled his plan to visit an American military cemetery due to rain grounding the presidential helicopter.

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