BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary move, Melania Trump called publicly Tuesday for the dismissal of a top White House National Security Council aide.
After reports circulated Tuesday that President Donald Trump had decided to remove Mira Ricardel from her post as deputy national security adviser, Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, released a statement that 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." Grisham offered no explanation.
Shortly before the statement came out, Ricardel was among a group of administration officials and other individuals who stood behind President Trump at a White House ceremony celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the first lady's staff and Ricardel had clashed during Mrs. Trump's visit to Africa in October over such things as seating on the airplane and requests to use the council's resources.
A spokesman for the National Security Council had no immediate comment.
Mrs. Trump is very protective of her husband and is considered to be an influential adviser, as many first ladies have been with their spouses.
Mrs. Trump is also one of the most private first ladies in recent memory, which made the public announcement about her displeasure with a top West Wing official all the more surprising.
In an interview with ABC News during her five-day trip to Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Egypt last month, the first lady said there are people in the White House whom she and the president cannot trust. She declined to name anyone but said she had let the president know who they are.
"Well," she said, "some people, they don't work there anymore."
Asked if some untrustworthy people still worked in the White House, she replied, "Yes."