The office of first lady Melania Trump said Tuesday deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel should be dismissed from her post, an extraordinary call that came as President Trump considers further shakeups to his Cabinet after the departure of Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, said in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Ricardel had clashed with Melania Trump’s staff over seating arrangements on a plane during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month. The paper added that the first lady’s office suspects Ricardel of leaking negative stories about the first lady and her staff.
The Journal also reported that Ricardel has sparred with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over policy differences and staffing decisions.
Ricardel, 58, assumed the post of deputy national security adviser in May, one month after Trump appointed John Bolton as national security adviser to replace Henry McMaster.
The furor over Ricardel comes as Trump is considering changes to his Cabinet that could include the departures of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, among others. The Journal reported Tuesday that Trump is “resigned” to the possibility of Kelly leaving the White House if Nielsen is asked to resign.
A leading candidate to replace Kelly is Nick Ayers, the chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence.
Fox News’ Kristin Brown and John Roberts contributed to this report.