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First lady Melania Trump publicly calls for the ouster of a senior administration official

U.S. President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump during an East Room event at the White House Oct. 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Melania Trump publicly called for the removal of national security adviser John Bolton's deputy.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, first lady Melania Trump publicly called for the ouster of a senior member of her husband's administration.

What are the details?

In an official statement on Tuesday, the office of the first lady publicly called for the firing of national security adviser John Bolton's deputy, Mira Ricardel. Melania Trump’s communication director Stephanie Grisham told ABC News:

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”


Melania and Ricardel reportedly clashed during the first lady's trip to Africa. Some points of contention reportedly involved seating on the plane during the trip and whether or not the first lady and her staff could use National Security Council resources. Ricardel has also reportedly been at odds with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

There was a report Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal that Ricardel had been escorted from the White House, but the White House denied this. 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.”

Has this happened before?

This public announcement is an unusual move for the office of first lady. While Nancy Reagan was reportedly influential in the ouster of former President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, Donald T. Regan, in 1987, she did so behind the scenes.

Regan had reportedly wanted the president to get back to work sooner after his prostate surgery than Nancy thought was advisable. At the time, the Reagan White House refused to acknowledge or comment on this tension between the two.

While she was first lady, Hillary Clinton fired one of the White House ushers for a reported “indiscretion,” but no public announcement was made beforehand and firing a member of the staff is by no means equivalent to calling for the firing of a senior administration official.

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