Melania Trump calls for firing of national security aide

Neilsen Pelosi

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump has told advisers he has made a decision to remove Nielsen and that he wants her out as soon as possible, citing five current and former White House officials.

Her departure would leave national security adviser John Bolton without one of his key allies in the administration, a deputy who has also shared his penchant for bureaucratic infighting.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the first lady's staff and Ms Ricardel had clashed during Ms Trump's visit to Africa in October over such things as seating on the airplane and requests to use the council's resources.

The first lady and her staff discussed the issue with the president during his recent trip to Paris, and Trump told his wife he'd have Ricardel removed, the Journal reported.

Trump is reportedly considering firing Kelly, along with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, according to multiple reports this week.

Earlier Tuesday, Ricardel participated in a celebration at the White House celebrating the Indian Diwali festival where Trump spoke. In an extraordinary move, first lady Melania Trump is publicly calling for the dismissal of Ricardel. When CNBC reporter Eamon Javers tried to get a statement from a White House official about the first lady's statement, that official responded by saying "the East Wing speaks for the East Wing".

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A spokesman for the National Security Council had no immediate comment.

The source cautioned Trump could still change his mind on the matter, but said he has grown tired of her in his push to harden the USA border with Mexico.

The dispute made it hard for Ricardel to land in a top post in the Trump administration, though she was ultimately tapped for the position of undersecretary of commerce for export administration.

Although Kelly had initially pledged to stay in his role through the 2020 election, ABC's sources say he has grown "distant" from the president again.

One of the sources said that their dealings over the trip "didn't go well". A White House spokesperson told The Post, however, that "she is still here".

Politico also reports that Ricardel may also be responsible for a breakdown in communication between the Pentagon and NSC because she has a less than rosy relationship with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Kelly and Fuentes believe Ricardel was leaking negative stories about them to the press, the people said.

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