‘They blinked’: Defense secretary threatens to ‘walk’ unless Trump axes fanatic loyalist, source says
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly told the White House he would resign unless a Trump campaign loyalist was removed from her job.
DefenseNews reported on Wednesday that supporters of Mattis were expecting the White House to reassign Mira Ricardel from her job at the Office of Presidential Personnel.
According to the report, Ricardel is a former member of Trump’s campaign who is seen as “a loyal soldier who is looking out for the interests of the President.”
Sources told DefenseNews that Ricardel was “a roadblock for nominees,” making it difficult for Mattis to fill top-level positions at the Pentagon.
Ricardel has allegedly imposed an ideological purity test that blocked many potential nominees. Sources said that the White House has blacklisted all candidates who signed “never Trump” letters during the election.
A source within the administration said that Ricardel’s opposition to “politically unacceptable” candidates was seen as a “badge of honor” in the White House.
“Mattis told the White House either Mira goes, or he walks,” one Pentagon source explained to Defense News. “They blinked.”
Ricardel is expected to be reassigned to a position at the Department of Commerce.
Sources within the administration reportedly disagreed, insisting that “Jim Mattis has zero to do with her job prospects.”
On Wednesday, Mattis was forced to withdraw his choice of Anne W. Patterson for undersecretary for policy after Republicans complained that she had served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013 under President Barack Obama.