Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Trump aide Ricardel forced out after showdown with first lady

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Deanna Wagner | 16 November, 2018, 15:56

It was announced that Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel would be moving to another job, a day after Mrs Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, released a statement saying: "It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she (Ms Ricardel) no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House".

The feud between Ms Ricardel and the First Lady came to the boil in October when the pair argued over arrangements for Mrs Trump's visit to Africa. Her office also suspected Ricardel of being the source of negative press about the first lady and her staff.

Ricardel "departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday.

Fleischer said most people don't pay attention to staff shakeups in the White House, but the perception of "chaos" negatively affects the administration.

Trump, after congressional elections last week in which his Republican Party saw its power eroded, is also preparing to oust Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as part of a post-election Cabinet shakeup, several US officials said.

Mrs Ricardel was hired away from the Department of Commerce by National Security Advisor John Bolton, and has decades of experience working in the United States government.

Contentious Brexit Divorce Agreement Triggers Ministerial Resignations
The parliament's chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt, welcomed the draft deal as "the best agreement we could obtain". A separate poll suggested nearly half of voters now back a second Brexit referendum.

A 36-year-old top aide to Vice President Mike Pence emerged on Wednesday as the leading candidate to replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Sanders did not elaborate on what Ricardel's new job would be.

Facing Trump's ire at the same time is Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whom the president believes is too slow to implement his tough-on-illegal-immigrants border control policies.

"I'm not going to go into a hypothetical of what if, who if", she said.

He joked that Melania sent Ricardel packing with "her traditional goodbye gift: a jacket that says, 'You don't really work here anymore, do U?'"

Pressure is mounting from the probe, as the special counsel Robert Mueller digs ever more deeply into the president's inner circle.

A weekend trip to Paris for World War I commemorations was marred by a row with President Emmanuel Macron - which saw Trump mockingly refer to Germany's invasions of France during the two world wars, while also berating America's European allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation over their defense spending.