Melania Trump’s hidden hand just became not so hidden

Posted at 5:36 PM, Nov 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 10:07:25-05

Melania Trump is, without question, the most enigmatic and least-known first lady in modern memory. She is deeply private, rarely offering even the slightest glimpse into what she thinks about her husband’s administration — or the country as a whole.

All of which is what makes what Melania did — through her communications director Stephanie Grisham — on Tuesday sooooooo fascinating.

“It is the position of the office of the first lady that [deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said Grisham.

And boom goes the dynamite!

Within hours, Ricardel, who had reportedly clashed with the first lady and her staff during a recent trip to Africa, was gone — off the White House grounds and widely rumored to have been fired. (Sidebar: Really? This is solely about a series of clashes during an Africa trip? I mean, OK. But, odd.)

The removal of Ricardel may well signal the opening gambit in a broader staff shakeup in the White House, with chief of staff John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, rumored to also be on their way out amid Trump’s unhappiness with their respective performances.

But Ricardel’s unceremonious ouster offers surefire proof of one thing: Cross Melania Trump and you are going to get got.

Donald Trump doesn’t a) listen to almost anyone or b) care what almost anyone thinks. But it’s been made pretty clear over his first two-ish years in office that his wife is someone he listens to — or, at the very least, is invested in trying to keep happy. And when Melania isn’t happy, things happen. And they happen quickly.

The Point: It’s exceedingly rare that we are given a window into Melania Trump’s thinking — and how she exerts her influence on her husband to make things happen in the White House. Today was one of those unique moments.