Despite issuing a scathing statement of disapproval and effectively ousting Mira Ricardel — a deputy national security adviser — first lady Melania Trump never met her, but was in talks with Chief of Staff John Kelly about her departure for some time, The Washington Post reported.
According to two people familiar with both parties who spoke to the Post, the first lady saw Ricardel as a “toxic influence” in the West Wing — in the Post’s words — and she even spoke with her husband about Ricardel’s behavior during her trip to Africa last month. Trump also gave aides permission to spread whispers about Ricardel’s overstepping, several people familiar with the matter told the Post.
Trump was convinced that Ricardel was spreading false information about her office and planting negative stories in the media about her stay in Egypt. The first lady’s office made several requests to National Security Adviser John Bolton to get rid of the aide, but Bolton refused, according to the Post.
Trump took matters into her own hands this week by releasing a public statement calling for Ricardel’s ouster. By Wednesday evening, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Ricardel had been assigned to a different position within the administration.
While Kelly supported efforts to remove the national security aide from the White House, he reportedly thought her departure was not handled well.