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Melania Trump's dangerous move

By all accounts, Mira Ricardel has not made a lot of friends in the Trump administration. A key member of na...

Posted: Nov 14, 2018 8:43 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 8:43 PM

By all accounts, Mira Ricardel has not made a lot of friends in the Trump administration. A key member of national security adviser John Bolton's team, she was brought in in April to help him shake up the national security staff. In the past, she had butted heads with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and chief of staff John Kelly is reportedly not a fan, two former White House officials told the Washington Post.

Now it appears that she has learned, quite publicly, that the one you really don't want to mess with is the first lady.

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In another episode of "Survivor: West Wing," Melania Trump went public Tuesday with her personnel concerns about Ricardel, in the process undermining the national security staff and -- not to be forgotten -- our national security. Indeed CNN reported Tuesday afternoon that "a White House official confirmed ... that Trump has told people that Ricardel will be fired, but she has been given some time to clear out her desk."

The once private dispute between the first lady, her staff and Ricardel broke into the open this week after news reports that Ricardel had challenged some request from the first lady's office about Melania Trump's recent trip to Africa. CNN reported that a person familiar with the most recent dustup said "Ricardel quarreled with the first lady's staff over seating on the plane and use of National Security Council resources."

Melania Trump's spokeswoman issued a statement Tuesday that "(i)t is the position of the office of the first lady that she [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House."

So, let me make a few things clear. First, Ricardel may have been behaving badly regarding the Africa trip; there are some suggestions in news reports that she deliberately withheld national security resources from the first lady's office. Second, Melania Trump has every right to relate her disdain for bad behavior to her husband or Bolton and to ask for a staffer's resignation over not sufficiently respecting the first lady's duties.

But what is not acceptable, and indeed dangerous, is the extent to which Melania Trump used her status as a family member — unelected, unappointed and unqualified — to dictate national security personnel decisions, in public, as if there are no global consequences to such action.

And, in this regard, the first lady was acting very -- Trumpish.

There is a great deal of this sort of behavior in this White House — the people's house. The President, her husband, wants a military parade (eventually). Jared Kushner, Melania Trump's son-in-law, wants to guide Middle East politics while continuing his business deals with those very same nations.

Earlier in the administration, Ivana Trump, Melania Trump's husband's ex-wife, said she was considered for (and turned down) the post of ambassador to the Czech Republic. And Ivanka Trump, her daughter-in-law, just received initial approval for 16 new trademarks from China, while experts on trade are trying to avoid a tariff war.

All these are examples where the line between national security and Trump family interest are blurred, if not essentially invisible. There are no American interests for the first family, only Trump personal or financial interests.

And there is likely to be more drama poured into the security mix in coming days. Sources in the White House made it clear Tuesday that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen's days in her job are numbered. And John Kelly, the chief of staff, may also be booted, sources told CNN.

Melania Trump's actions are consistent with the mercurial management preferences of the Trump family; indeed, the President is keen on calling the defense apparatus that exists to protect America "my generals." The family has turned national security -- once, not so long ago, immune from the political backstabbing and favor-grabbing that animate the political side of the White House -- into its own TV-style drama. The first lady felt no need to hide that that was exactly the way she was handling things.

Bolton, who hired Ricardel, doesn't have many options. Melania Trump has spoken. This is no longer our national security hard at work to protect the American public. It is a denigration of the career staff and (whether you like him or not) the NSA's Bolton. In public.

Dear world, this is America's security apparatus. Fear us? Respect us? At least, don't laugh at us?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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