The national security aide that drew an extraordinary rebuke from first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday resigned Wednesday from her post as deputy national security adviser.
Mira Ricardel, an ally of recently installed national security adviser John Bolton, had a reputation for bruising bureaucratic gamesmanship that alienated many in the White House, including the first lady, whom she had never even met. On Tuesday, Melania Trump’s communications director issued a statement assailing the national security aide seemingly out of the blue. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” the statement read.
The unusually public reproach ignited speculation about the cause of the rift and Ricardel’s future at the White House. “A dust-up between Ms. Ricardel and several East Wing senior staff members before and during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month ended up eliciting Mrs. Trump’s attention, and the conflict led to an internal dispute that festered for weeks,” the New York Times reports. “Among Ms. Ricardel’s offenses, three people familiar with the situation said, was a dispute over airplane seating—she wanted to have a say over who was given seats on the plane to Africa… [She] also withheld resources from the first lady before she traveled to Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt last month, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Before and during the trip, Mrs. Trump’s senior staff members operated without logistical information, readily available policy documents or basic communication as they arrived in places where security could be tight and tense, and the movements hectic. They said Ms. Ricardel was the reason for the delay.”
Melania Trump further suspected Ricardel of spreading negative stories about her and her staff and that was it, on Wednesday, Ricardel was seen packing her office. The White House is framing her departure as a reassignment. “Mira Ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The president is grateful for Ms. Ricardel’s continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities.”