14:24 GMT +311 December 2018
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    First lady Melania Trump.

    Melania Trump Demands Firing of Senior National Security Official

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    Hours after US President Donald Trump attended a Hindu holiday celebration at the Roosevelt Room of the White House, First Lady Melania Trump called for the firing of a National Security Council staffer who was there.

    "It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House," the first lady's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said Tuesday.

    It isn't clear why Melania is attempting to oust the deputy national security adviser for John Bolton, Mira R. Ricardel, at this time. Ricardel is apparently a controversial personality in the Cabinet, but the first lady doesn't typically get involved in such matters.

    A senior White House official told the Washington Post that Ricardel was going to be fired, but she reported to work on Tuesday. She is still expected to be let go, however.

    According to a Washington Post report from mid-October, a half a dozen current and former officials familiar with the situation said that Ricardel and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had clashed during Trump's transition to president. When Bolton appointed Ricardel to be his deputy in April, the Pentagon came to believe that she was working to undermine them at the White House, the officials said. 

    At the time, Ricardel said she was "coordinating across government agencies to implement the President's agenda, including with the Defense Department under the leadership of General Mattis, for whom I have great respect."

    Now, three current and two former White House sources tell the Post that Ricardel had "spread rumors" about Mattis, argued with the first lady, berated people at meetings and yelled at staff.

    The first lady did not personally speak about Ricardel. After the event in the Roosevelt room and Grisham's statement calling for Ricardel to be let go, Melania tweeted photographs of her welcoming guests to the White House in a tribute to "World Kindness Day." That tweet was later deleted, however.

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