Trump Promising More Dismissals of Key Aides
U.S. President Donald Trump contended Thursday that his White House operations are "running very smoothly," even as he asserted he would be dismissing more key staff members.
"I will be making changes on various things," Trump told the Daily Caller, a conservative news website. "You know, you're talking about a few names, you're not talking about many."
Last week, the day after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years, Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump had long assailed Sessions for removing himself from oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Trump 2016 campaign links with Russia and whether Trump, as president, has obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe.
Then, on Wednesday, Trump acceded to his wife Melania Trump's demand that he oust deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, who had jousted with the first lady in October when Ricardel discovered there was no seat for her and another National Security Council staffer on the plane taking Melania Trump on her goodwill trip to Africa. The White House said Ricardel would be reassigned elsewhere in the Trump administration.
White House Official Criticized by First Lady Removed From Position
Trump said in the Daily Caller interview that after midterm congressional elections halfway through a president's four-year term "you make changes, so I'm looking at things and I've got a lot of options. A lot of people want to come in. A lot of politicians that have had very successful careers that are very good want to come in. So I'm looking at things, haven't made a decision yet."
In a Twitter comment, Trump said, "The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. We are the envy of the world."
But Trump complained that "anytime I even think about making changes, the FAKE NEWS MEDIA goes crazy, always seeking to make us look as bad as possible! Very dishonest!"
News accounts say Trump is weighing whether to dismiss Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, whom he has often criticized for not sufficiently reducing the number of migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. along its southern border with Mexico. At the same, Trump could replace White House chief of staff John Kelly, a Nielsen supporter and his chief of staff when Kelly was the Homeland Security secretary before he took the White House position.
"I will be making a decision on Homeland shortly," Trump told the Daily Caller.
Trump officials were blindsided Tuesday by Melania Trump's demand to oust Ricardel.
"It is the position of the office of the first lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House," the first lady's spokeswoman said.
CNN said that President Trump was angry over the incident, saying it made him look like a "bossed-around husband."
But within 24 hours, President Trump's spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said that Ricardel "will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration."