Mira Ricardel is the current deputy national security advisor for the White House. On Tuesday, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham revealed that the first lady is seeking Ricardel’s removal from her post.
Per Bloomberg, Grisham said, “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
On Tuesday, a source told White House reporter Meredith McGraw that Mira Ricardel has never actually met the first lady. It’s unclear whether they have or not. CNN later reported that Ricardel was removed from her post and placed in a different position in the administration.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ricardel Is the Top Deputy to National Security Advisor John Bolton
Currently, Ricardel serves as the top deputy to John Bolton, the National Security Advisor. She has not publicly responded to the apparent efforts by FLOTUS to oust her from this position.
The news comes following a report by The Wall Street Journal that Trump plans to oust Ricardel at the first lady’s request. Ricardel has reportedly also clashed with Defense Secretary James Mattis in the past, per The Hill, regarding Pentagon appointments and more, even stopping Mattis from hiring some officials at the beginning of Trump’s presidency over “concerns” that they had shown support for Hillary Clinton during her presidential run.
The Hill reports that Ricardel’s current duties include policy coordination between the NSC and the State Department, as well as the Pentagon on major policy issues.
2. Ricardel Drew the Wrath of FLOTUS in a Disagreement Over a Trip to Africa in October
Ricardel’s conflict with the first lady began over a disagreement regarding FLOTUS’ trip to Africa in October, per Bloomberg; Ricardel reportedly threatened to withhold National Security Council resources for the Africa trip unless she was allowed to join the trip personally.
Another report by The Hill says that the conflict between Ricardel and FLOTUS had to do with plane seating, as well; but still others on Twitter are pointing out that this could just be a smokescreen for Trump getting rid of someone of his own volition.
Per CNN, a White House official further accused Ricardel of lying about the conflict with the first lady, and of leaking false stories about the first lady following the Africa trip. What’s more, chief of staff John Kelly and his deputy Zach Fuentes believe that Ricardel has been “leaking negative stories about them to the press” as well, via CNN.
3. A Source Familiar With Ricardel Said She Had ‘Alienated Everyone’ Except Bolton
Though the news of FLOTUS’ disapproval is new, Ricardel has reportedly alienated several people in recent months. The Straits Times reports that Ricardel has “sort of alienated everyone” in the NSC staff except for Bolton.
If Ricardel is in fact ousted from her position, it would reflect a large shift in stability for Bolton, as well: CNN reports that Ricardel has served a key role in Bolton’s efforts to secure his position as an “influential adviser to the President on all foreign matters.”
4. Ricardel Has a Long Career in Government Work, Dating Back to 1986
Ricardel holds a bachelor’s degree in national studies and international relations from Georgetown University, and has also completed doctoral course work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Starting in 1986, Ricardel began her career in government by working as a congressional affairs specialist, and continued to serve in the State Department through to 1989.
From that point to 1996, Ricardel worked as a legislative assistant for Republican Senator Bob Dole, drafting legislation related to foreign affairs and defense policy. Over the years, Ricardel continued to hold public sector jobs, then left the public sector to hold a position with Boeing for just under a decade.
Ricardel returned to public service when she was tapped to be a part of Trump’s presidential transition team following his election victory.
5. Ricardel Was Tapped to Trump’s Presidential Transition Team to Help Make Appointments
While on Trump’s presidential transition team, Ricardel worked with approximately 100 aides, policy experts, and government officials to work to recommend people to top cabinet and staff roles for the Trump White House. She served as the team’s Department of Defense advisor.
Following her role in Trump’s transition team, Ricardel was then appointed for the position of undersecretary of commerce for export administration, and in April, when Bolton was named national security advisor, she was pulled onto the NSC.