Warm Southern Breeze

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First Lady Melania Trump Calls For Firing Of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Various news gathering and reporting agencies have said today that First Lady Melania Knauss Trump is seeking the firing of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel, allegedly because she was disgruntled over the way her October trip to Africa was handled.

First Lady Melania Trump in Egypt, the last stop after visiting the African nations of Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya in October 2018.

Stephanie Grisham, Press Secretary and Communications Director for the First Lady, made an unprecedentedly terse statement that, “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

While Ms. Grisham offered no explanation for the complaint, others have said the basis of the request for her ouster is “over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources” during the First Lady’s solo trip to Africa. One White House staff member who declined to named for fear of retribution, defended Ms. Ricardel and said “Mira Ricardel is one of the highest ranking women in the Trump administration,” and noted that Ms. Ricardel “has never met the first lady.”

Mira Ricardel, Deputy National Security Advisor

Ms. Ricardel is top deputy to National Security Advisor John Bolton who is now in Singapore with Vice President Pence, where they are attending the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Ms. Ricardel’s clash with the First Lady’s staff came after she threatened to withhold National Security Council resources during Melania Trump’s trip to Africa last month unless she or another NSC official was included in her entourage. She did not go.

John R. Bolton, National Security Advisor

The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Bolton has resisted requests from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to fire Ms. Ricardel, who Mr. Bolton hired April 23, 2018 from the Department of Commerce, and had previously worked in the Department of Defense under President George W. Bush.

John F. Kelly

Trump administration officials concede that Ms. Ricardel is widely disliked by many White House staffers because she’s considered inflexible and obsessed with process, which has complicated coordination between the National Security Council and other cabinet-level agencies. One White House official who declined to be named for fear of retribution, said Ms. Ricardel’s behavior has “sort of alienated everyone” at the National Security Council, except for Mr. Bolton.

Before her dust-up with the East Wing, Ms. Ricardel had regular conflicts with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, which contentious relationship is a well-known grudge within the Trump administration.

James N. Mattis, Secretary of Defense

Ms. Ricardel’s disputes with Mr. Mattis preceded her role as Deputy National Security Adviser and originated with the Trump presidential transition team when she sought to block Mr. Mattis from hiring certain people who had been critical of Trump or were perceived as being insufficiently loyal to him.

H.R. McMaster

According to one White House staffer who declined to be identified for fear of negative repercussions, like Mr. Bolton, Ms. Ricardel has “a very closed style. It’s literally closed-door as opposed to open-door” style as was under former National Security Advisor Major General Dr. H.R. McMaster, who was fired March 22 this year after disagreeing with Trump on key foreign policy strategies, including his approach to Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

As a result of General McMaster’s firing and replacement with Mr. Bolton, the atmosphere within the National Security Council is now suspicious, and “much more close-hold, much more skeptical of the staff who works for them in some ways.”

The staff member also remarked about staff morale under Mr. Bolton, and said that, “I don’t think there’s a lot of warm and fuzzy stuff going on. There’s no ice-cream socials and there’s not hanging around the big table in the National Security Adviser’s office at the end of the day shooting the breeze. It’s not as enjoyable day to day.”

Tensions have also risen recently between Ms. Ricardel and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his Deputy Chief of Staff Zach Fuentes, who both suspect she has been leaking negative stories about them to the press.

Historically, First Ladies rarely publicly intervene in West Wing White House staffing decisions, but some have made waves.

Donald Regan (1918-2003) portrait as Merrill Lynch CEO, by Robert Templeton, 1981

Joan Quigley (1927-2014) was an astrologer who advised First Lady Nancy Reagan, who in turn advised her husband, then-President Ronald Reagan, on many high-level matters.

White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan was fired by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 after he angered Nancy Reagan. Mr. Regan later wrote in his 1998 book For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington, that “Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco [Joan Quigley] who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise.”

In May 1993 seven White House Travel Office employees were fired, and in 2000, Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray reported that First Lady Hillary Clinton had given “factually false” sworn testimony in her 1995 deposition about her involvement in the firings during her husband, President Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Before 1999, the Independent Counsel was an independent prosecutor distinct from the Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice, which provided reports to the United States Congress under 28 U.S.C. § 595.

In 1999, after the Ethics in Government Act expired, the Office of Independent Counsel was replaced with the Office of Special Counsel, which role was defined by 28 CFR 600, and in turn was based on Congressional Statute 28 USC 510. In 2003, the appointment of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the public naming of CIA spy officer Valerie Plame, was based on 28 USC 510.

The appointment of Robert Mueller III to investigate interference by the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, followed regulation, which includes investigating possible criminal conspiracy between the Russian government and the Presidential Campaign of Donald Trump. Those actions were done pursuant to regulation 28 CFR 600.

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security

When asked Tuesday at the White House about his plans regarding possible firings, including that of Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, a close ally of Mr. Kelly, President Trump – who repeatedly blames her for what he characterized in “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security” dated April 4, 2018, as “…a point of crisis. The lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security, and sovereignty of the American people.” to send National Guard troops to the US/Mexico border – declined to answer specifically, but said, “We’ll be talking about it.”

One unnamed White House staff member characterized President Trump’s management style by analogy saying, “This is how the president works. He’s doused a bunch of people in gasoline, and he’s waiting for someone to light a match.”

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