Who is Mira Ricardel and why did Melania Trump want her fired?

Neilsen Pelosi

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Ricardel had argued with Melania Trump about her trip to Africa last month, her first solo trip overseas without the president, three current and two former administration officials told The Washington Post in a report published Tuesday.

"Mira Ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

According to Reuters, the first lady complained to the president that she was unhappy with her treatment by Ricardel, a former Boeing Company executive who worked on Trump's presidential campaign and was chosen by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy in May 2018.

The sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Ricardel after their dealings over the Africa trip "didn't go well".

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Melania Trump has taken the unusual move of publicly calling for the sacking of a top White House official.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Just before the statement was issued, Mrs Ricardel stood behind the president with a group of administration officials at a White House ceremony celebrating Diwali. The other main takeaway from Trump's trip - the round criticism of a decision to scrap a visit to an American military cemetery due to the rain - has reportedly left the president incensed, and the prospect of a White House shakeup all the greater. "We're looking at that, and I do want to study whatever is being said", Trump told reporters last week.

Ricardel has also built a reputation in the White House for berating staff, several sources said. In October, the first lady told ABC News that she did not trust some administration officials and that she had made her husband aware.

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Reflecting the fast-moving nature of the events, soon after a Wall Street Journal report surfaced Tuesday afternoon alleging Ricardel was sacked and escorted off the White House grounds, a senior White House official denied the story to reporters.

Ricardel, 58, assumed the post of deputy national security adviser in May, one month after Trump appointed John Bolton as national security adviser to replace H.R. McMaster.

Current and former colleagues of Ricardel paint a picture of a committed conservative and national security expert with a strong personality. Two administration sources said she is generally not well liked, though others pushed back, saying she was a respected member of the team and one of the highest ranking women in the West Wing.

"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, the first lady's spokeswoman, had said.

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Another official was more forgiving: "She'd run through a brick wall for you but her personality isn't for everyone".

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