The first lady complained to the president that she was unhappy with how she was being treated by Mira Ricardel, a former Boeing executive who worked on the Trump presidential campaign and was picked by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy earlier this year, the sources said.
The sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Ricardel. The sources said the dispute between the first lady and the deputy security advisor intensified over a trip Melania Trump made to Africa in October.
One of the sources said that their dealings over the trip "didn't go well." The other source said that Melania Trump felt that Ricardel tried to short-change the first lady in terms of U.S. government resources allocated to support her Africa tour.
The sources did not elaborate on the clash over resources.
The White House and the National Security Council (NSC) had no immediate comment. Ricardel could not be reached for comment.
A source familiar with Ricardel's White House performance said Ricardel also ran afoul of much of the NSC staff and "sort of alienated everyone" except for Bolton, the veteran conservative foreign policy expert who has been Ricardel's immediate superior.
One of the sources familiar with the White House intrigue said that the tensions began building to a crisis point about a month ago and serious, but apparently unsuccessful, efforts were made to defuse the dispute.
Ricardel was also believed to have had a dislike of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, current and former officials have told Reuters. (Reporting By Mark Hosenball and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman)
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