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 9:43 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 9:43 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?

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 50300

Reported Deaths: 2748
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11920692
Lake5432248
Elkhart347058
Allen2902133
St. Joseph205169
Hamilton1665101
Cass16449
Hendricks1446100
Johnson1325118
Porter80238
Tippecanoe7599
Clark68144
Vanderburgh6816
Madison67264
LaPorte60527
Howard59458
Bartholomew59345
Kosciusko5704
Marshall5308
Noble50128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4783
Boone47444
Delaware46952
Hancock46036
Shelby43525
Floyd40444
Morgan33631
Monroe32928
Grant30926
Dubois2976
Henry29717
Montgomery29720
Clinton2893
White26810
Decatur25532
Dearborn25423
Lawrence25225
Vigo2478
Warrick24329
Harrison21722
Greene19332
Miami1922
Jennings17912
Putnam1728
DeKalb1674
Scott1639
Wayne1536
Daviess15017
Perry1459
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1332
Franklin1278
Ripley1277
Wabash1152
Carroll1132
Gibson1132
Fayette1057
Whitley1045
Newton10010
Starke983
Huntington932
Randolph794
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington681
Knox670
Clay665
Pulaski661
Rush613
Posey550
Owen521
Benton510
Spencer501
Adams491
Sullivan471
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Tipton321
Switzerland300
Martin240
Parke230
Ohio220
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62856

Reported Deaths: 3032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11433443
Cuyahoga8786393
Hamilton6563207
Lucas2889305
Marion274039
Montgomery237835
Summit2299209
Pickaway221641
Mahoning1907239
Butler176747
Columbiana135060
Stark1196114
Lorain109769
Trumbull103277
Warren94525
Clark79310
Delaware67515
Fairfield64317
Tuscarawas60110
Lake57022
Belmont56722
Medina56632
Licking56012
Miami50331
Portage48759
Wood47451
Clermont4537
Ashtabula44544
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3635
Allen34841
Greene3229
Mercer29510
Erie26722
Holmes2575
Darke25326
Huron2382
Madison2139
Ottawa16624
Sandusky15715
Washington14420
Coshocton1413
Ross1393
Crawford1385
Putnam13415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Athens1111
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1052
Muskingum961
Union931
Monroe8917
Hancock851
Lawrence820
Preble821
Hocking809
Clinton791
Guernsey793
Shelby744
Williams742
Logan681
Fulton660
Scioto650
Carroll643
Ashland632
Wyandot625
Brown601
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland491
Van Wert451
Perry411
Seneca402
Henry330
Paulding280
Jackson270
Pike270
Adams251
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 81°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 83°
Decatur
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Van Wert
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 82°
Sunday starts wet, ends dry
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events