Sounds like Mira Ricardel, one of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s most trusted aides, rubbed the first lady the wrong way.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Trump has already decided to remove Ms. Ricardel, the top deputy for national security adviser John Bolton, officials said on Tuesday.
A rift emerged after Mrs. Trump staff’s battled with Ms. Ricardel during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources, according to people familiar with the matter. The first lady’s team also told Mr. Trump that they suspect Ms. Ricardel is behind some negative stories about Mrs. Trump and her staff.
The first lady’s office issued a statement on Tuesday calling for Ms. Ricardel to be dismissed. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump.
The first lady firing national security aides? That’s a new one.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also out, just as I learned to spell her name. Her top ally, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, may follow.
Mr. Trump is also leaning toward the ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who is a close ally of Mr. Kelly, White House officials said. The president has decided to replace Ms. Nielsen, but hasn’t finalized the timing, White House officials said, in part because there isn’t an obvious candidate to replace her.
Mr. Trump has told aides that he is aware that forcing out Ms. Nielsen may result in Mr. Kelly quitting, administration officials said. Mr. Trump has told these aides that he is resigned to the possibility of Mr. Kelly leaving, and that he probably will replace Mr. Kelly with Nick Ayers, who is currently chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.
From the press pool report on Melania Trump’s trip to Philadelphia:
The trip by First Lady Melania Trump to Philadelphia, where she is slated to visit a hospital, got off to a rocky start-about 15 minutes into what was supposed to be a 30 minute flight from Joint Base Andrews to Philadelphia, a small amount of smoke could be seen inside the plane and the interior filled with a burning smell.
A FLOTUS staffer came into our compartment and informed us that there was a “mechanical problem” and we would be returning to Joint Base Andrews and would re-evaluate on the tarmac.
A member of the flight crew passed out damp washcloths for passengers to hold over their faces for the smell. Plane landed again shortly after 9 am. We are being transported to the lounge area and are told we will be boarding a different aircraft soon.
First Lady Melania Trump bravely agreed to an interview without conditions with ABC News, which went ahead and asked her about President Trump’s alleged affairs and whether it was putting a strain on her marriage.
It is not concern and focus of mine. I’m a mother and a First Lady, and I have much more important things to think about, and to do. I know people like to speculate, and media like to speculate, about our marriage, and circulate the gossip. But I understand the gossip sells newspapers, magazines, getting advertisers and, unfortunately, we live in this kind of world today . . . Media speculating, yeah, it’s not always pleasant, of course. But I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true or not true.”
Asked if she loves her husband, she responded without hesitation: “Yes, we are fine. Yes. It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff.”
I dunno. Did Hillary as first lady get asked if she loved her husband, or even get asked so directly about Monica Lewinsky once Bill had admitted to the affair? Maybe, but if so, I don’t remember it.
As you’ll see below, the correspondent, Tom Llamas, warns that he’s going to ask some tough questions. Why is it the media’s business whether Mrs. Trump loves her husband? That’s not a tough question. That’s an inappropriate question.
Here she is meeting with workers
Touring the center . . .
Unfortunately, she stepped on her message a bit by wearing a jacket on the way out that read on the back, “I really don’t care, do U?” I gather it’s some fashionable thing. Honestly, it’s someone’s job to make sure she doesn’t do that.
Uh oh. Looks like she’s getting involved in policy. That might not be good.
Unless this is basically a “Message: We care” photo op. But I don’t think Melania does much to smooth Donald’s rough edges, people already differentiate her from the president, unlike Ivanka, who kind of shares the rap against her dad’s.
And she’ll wear the wrong kind of shoes and get attacked anyway unless she personally unlocks the cages and releases everyone.
From the White House:
First Lady Melania Trump has arrived in Texas to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center. Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families.
Former First Lady Laura Bush joined in the attack on President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which results in the separation of children from their parents who have entered the country illegally.
Mrs. Bush wrote in the Washington Post:
I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.
Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned.
Okay, well at least Mrs. Bush didn’t use the “C” word.
Meantime, the current first lady issued a statement through her spokesman that subtly, but pretty clearly, puts her on the side of her husband’s critics:
Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.
That is, the current policy is heartless.
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