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Melania Never Met Nat'l Secretary Aide She Publicly Bashed, Ousted

16 November 2018

A senior national security aide to US President Donald Trump was forced to depart the White House on Wednesday, a day after the First Lady Melania Trump sought her exit.

Ricardel is a former US Commerce Department official hand-picked by Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, to serve as his deputy. A seat was pulled from the National Security Council to accommodate a journalist, which angered the official.

Mrs. Trump's office said Wednesday that she gets along well with the embattled Mr. Kelly.

The start to the second half of Trump's first term is enveloped in gloom as the president surveys the damage from the midterms, tension with some of America's closest allies, and now turmoil inside the administration.

CNN reported Wednesday morning that it's still not clear if Ricardel has actually been dismissed, and cited a White House insider saying that neither President Trump, his chief of staff John Kelly or press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders knew that Melania would be releasing the statement condemnin Ricardel.

But Ms Sanders didn't say what Ms Ricardel's new job would be, and didn't respond to follow-up questions.

"It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House", Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for the first lady, said on November 13, prompting media speculations on the reasons behind it.

The newspaper also reported that she repeatedly clashed with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis over "staffing decisions and policy differences".

Trump again called the investigation "highly conflicted". The power of the first lady is the relationship with the first man.

The feud between Ms Ricardel and the First Lady came to the boil in October when the pair argued over arrangements for Mrs Trump's visit to Africa.

In addition to having bad blood with various White House staffers, Ricardel was suspected of spreading false, inflammatory stories about people in the West Wing, which Trump reportedly disapproved of, according to the New York Times. She previously worked in the Defense Department under President George W. Bush.

Mr Trump was seen talking to Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, at an election night gathering last week, according to two people familiar with the matter - an encounter that's fed rumours among Trump associates that Mr Ayers may replace Mr Kelly.

Melania Never Met Nat'l Secretary Aide She Publicly Bashed, Ousted