In a move being called "extraordinary" and "stunning," Melania Trump has publicly called for a top White House National Security Council official to be fired. The Wall Street Journal reported soon after that Mira Ricardel, national security adviser John Bolton's deputy, was in fact expected to be fired (the newspaper initially reported she had been fired, but later retracted that headline). After reports circulated earlier Tuesday that President Trump was planning to remove Ricardel from the NSC, the first lady's spokesperson put out a statement: "It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House." Ricardel was at an official White House event with the president at the time the statement was released, NBC News reports, and the Washington Post reports she was still at her desk Tuesday afternoon but was expected to be fired.
The first reports of the president's plans to remove Ricardel came in the swirl of stories about his reported plan to push out Chief of Staff John Kelly. According to the Journal, Melania Trump's staff clashed with Ricardel during the first lady's trip to Africa last month. Issues included seating on the plane and requests for the use of NSC resources, sources say. The first lady's staff also reportedly told President Trump they suspect Ricardel is the source of some negative articles about Melania Trump and her team. Multiple sources tell the Post Ricardel is known for yelling at staff and "berating" people in meetings. Ricardel had also clashed with Kelly and with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, both of whom have reportedly expressed a desire for her exit. (Also rumored to be on the way out? Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.)