The first lady isn't the only one who has clashed with Ricardel. Reports surfaced late on Monday that Trump was preparing to remove Nielsen, a close ally of Kelly's with whom the president has grown frustrated over immigration enforcement. Nancy Reagan, for instance, had an ongoing feud with Chief of Staff Donald Regan.
It is expected Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel will be fired.
Trump with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (left) at the White House in July 2017.
DeStefano has presided over a growing portfolio inside a White House known for its complicated internal dynamics. Kelly, a retired Marine general, has been credited with bringing order and process to a chaotic West Wing, but he has fallen out of favor with the president as well as presidential daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Speaking at his post-midterms news conference last week, the President made clear he was planning to shake up his staff, though declined to offer details.
If not the undersecretary for management, Trump is reportedly considering Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection and David P. Pekoske. I will say that, for the most part, I'm very, very happy with this Cabinet.
California wildfires force hundreds of thousands to evacuate, claim five lives
President Trump has blamed the large-scale devastation on gross mismanagement of the forests and warned of funding cuts. State officials put the total number of people forced from their homes by California's fires at more than 200,000.
National security adviser John Bolton, who hand picked Ricardel as his deputy, was traveling overseas as Tuesday's events unfolded. Kelly's status is also unclear, one of the people said. "I love doing it, I must tell you".
Nielsen's colleagues said she was unhappy in her role for several months, and Trump has expressed interest in considering candidates to replace her, The Post reported. The Straits Times reports that Ricardel has "sort of alienated everyone" in the NSC staff except for Bolton. She is a longtime GOP official who previously served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, as well as the office of former Sen.
Ricardel's conflict with the first lady began over a disagreement regarding FLOTUS' trip to Africa in October, per Bloomberg; Ricardel reportedly threatened to withhold National Security Council resources for the Africa trip unless she was allowed to join the trip personally.
Nielsen also moved to abandon longstanding regulations that dictate how long children are allowed to be held in immigration detention, and requested bed space from the US military for some 12,000 people in an effort to detain all families who cross the border. Kelly has staunchly defended Nielsen against criticism of her performance on immigration-related matters. "All that has kept Nielsen on was not her loyalty to the president but desire to protect the department from his whims and to let her people do their jobs".
With the mid-term elections now in the rear-view mirror, the situation in the Trump White House appears to be coming to a head.