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White House fires senior adviser after First Lady Melania Trump called for her removal

The White House has reassigned deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel after first lady Melania Trump's office called for her removal. (Image source: ABC News video screenshot)

The White House removed deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel from her position one day after first lady Melania Trump's office released a statement calling for her firing, according to NBC News.

According to a White House statement, Ricardel will be moved to a different role within the Trump administration.

"Mira Ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. "The president is grateful for Ms. Ricardel's continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities."

This is important because: It is extremely unusual for the first lady to publicly call for the firing of a White House official, and President Donald Trump was reportedly caught off guard by the statement from his wife's office.

"It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House," the Tuesday statement from East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham said.

A little bit of confusion: After the statement, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ricardel had been fired and escorted off the White House grounds Tuesday afternoon; the White House denied that report, and as of Wednesday morning, Ricardel was still a White House employee before the recent announcement.

Conflict had been boiling: It was no secret in the White House that Melania Trump was not pleased with Ricardel, who clashed over travel arrangements for Trump's trip to Africa in October. Politico reported that some suspected Ricardel of leaking unflattering stories about the first lady in retaliation.

Not popular in the White House: Ricardel didn't just feud with Melania Trump. She also clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly, although some Trump administration sources told CNN she was a respected member of the administration.



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