According to Press TV, in an extraordinary move on Tuesday, Melania called publicly for Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel to be dismissed.
Two presidential aides said Trump was considering forcing her out, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the adviser remained in her White House office.
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman, said in a terse statement.
She gave no reason for why the first lady wanted Ricardel out but several sources close to the White House said it was related to Melania Trump’s trip to Africa in October.
While first ladies historically have been known to pressure their husbands over official business, they do not typically issue statements about it.
Ricardel worked on the Trump presidential election campaign and was picked by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the first lady’s staff and Ricardel had clashed during Mrs. Trump’s visit to Africa over such things as seating on the airplane and requests to use government resources allocated to support her Africa tour.
A source familiar with Ricardel’s White House performance said she has run afoul of much of the staff at the National Security Council and “sort of alienated everyone” except for Bolton.
Ricardel also is known to have clashed with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over Pentagon political appointee choices since early in his tenure.
Pentagon officials have said privately they believe Ricardel had a hand in spreading rumors this year about Mattis falling from favor with Trump and perhaps departing.