STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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.

Celebrities

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

International relations and national security

Ivana Trump

Ivanka Trump

John Bolton

Melania Trump

National security

Political Figures - US

Politics

US federal government

White House

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: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto18020198
Hinds17192342
Harrison14654214
Rankin11404225
Jackson11146194
Lee9160149
Madison8736173
Jones6934120
Forrest6324126
Lauderdale6212198
Lowndes5623124
Lafayette5295102
Lamar515565
Washington4984125
Bolivar4187111
Oktibbeha413686
Panola390784
Pontotoc383461
Warren3766103
Monroe3746112
Marshall362273
Union361966
Pearl River3578107
Neshoba3528160
Leflore3148110
Lincoln311489
Hancock304263
Sunflower296079
Tate282964
Alcorn276257
Pike275985
Itawamba272665
Scott268055
Yazoo259956
Prentiss257255
Copiah254649
Coahoma253656
Tippah252652
Simpson246072
Leake239367
Marion230774
Covington226173
Grenada225874
Wayne219337
Adams218172
George211041
Winston208971
Newton202748
Attala198265
Tishomingo197861
Chickasaw191546
Jasper185839
Holmes173268
Clay169538
Tallahatchie158835
Stone154727
Clarke151062
Calhoun143122
Smith134226
Yalobusha125435
Walthall116638
Greene115930
Noxubee114726
Montgomery113136
Lawrence109317
Carroll107722
Perry106431
Amite103829
Webster99024
Claiborne90426
Jefferson Davis90231
Tunica89722
Benton87423
Humphreys86225
Kemper81820
Quitman71611
Franklin71517
Choctaw64914
Wilkinson60325
Jefferson57521
Sharkey45917
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 449086

Reported Deaths: 7172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson656061094
Mobile32260595
Madison28795237
Tuscaloosa21859277
Montgomery20388348
Shelby19707139
Baldwin17629217
Lee13482112
Morgan12795154
Etowah12265213
Calhoun11730228
Marshall10543133
Houston9221182
Limestone849485
Cullman8412143
Elmore8379123
Lauderdale8049121
DeKalb7985122
St. Clair7985144
Talladega6637114
Jackson611557
Walker6078185
Colbert5650104
Blount556895
Autauga549967
Coffee473471
Dale418692
Franklin380153
Russell364216
Chilton351379
Covington347986
Escambia343446
Tallapoosa3228111
Dallas3164105
Chambers313775
Clarke311139
Pike269435
Lawrence259759
Marion256667
Winston236443
Bibb226151
Geneva217151
Marengo213332
Pickens203031
Barbour189840
Hale189748
Fayette183534
Butler176660
Cherokee167333
Henry162229
Monroe154221
Randolph149536
Washington144727
Clay131650
Crenshaw127048
Macon124638
Cleburne124128
Lamar122024
Lowndes118637
Wilcox110022
Bullock107429
Perry100819
Conecuh99123
Sumter91228
Greene78624
Coosa66119
Choctaw52424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 27°
Columbus
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 27°
Oxford
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 24°
Starkville
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 28°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather