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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.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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