The Secretary of Defense has threatened to go AWOL and given Donald Trump an ultimatum. It seems that he has a real problem with one of the Trump loyalists. If the president refuses to give Croatian-American Mira Radielovic Ricardel her marching orders, Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is gone.
Mattis has had a difficult time filling the positions within his agency, because Ricardel, who sits in the Office of Presidential Personnel, has been blocking his nominees. Nearly 75 percent of those jobs remain unfilled. Ricardel was integral to the nominee review process, which means she has been holding one-on-one interviews with potential Mattis nominees.
Trump forced Secretary Mattis to pull his choice for undersecretary, diplomat Anne W. Patterson, because conservatives did not like her, according to the Washington Post.
The president promised Secretary Mattis that he could choose his own team. That was a requisite part of his agreement to take the secretary position. Yet, Mattis and the White House have clashed over and over regarding his nominees. The secretary’s first choice for deputy secretary, Michèle Flournoy fell through when, after meeting with the White House, she withdrew.
An administration source told DefenseNews this about Ricardel:
‘She’s extremely well respected and liked at the White House. The White House thinks she’s done great work in a difficult situation.’
Two DefenseNews sources, including a member of the administration, suspect the Trump transition team defense advisor wanted a Pentagon appointment, even undersecretary of defense for policy. It did not happen, but Trump still considers her a loyal soldier and Defense watchdog.
Pentagon sources indicate that after Mattis gave the president his ultimatum, she was moved. One source told DefenseNews:
‘Mattis told the White House either Mira goes, or he walks. They blinked.’
An administration source disagreed, saying that Mattis and Ricardel conflicts were “a badge of honor,” because she blocked “politically unacceptable” nominees, according to DefenseNews:
‘Mattis being upset with her has absolutely nothing to do with this. She’s doing that job until she can’t anymore because of her nomination. … Jim Mattis has zero to do with her job prospects.’
Ricardel is moving to a senior national security position with the Department of Commerce. Mattis won this round, but his ultimatum stands. Both Democrats and Republicans admire this secretary, but the nation’s security hangs by a thread.
Check out this video of Defense Secretary Mattis below:
Retweeted Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump):
— Frankie Russo (@FrankieRusso1) March 2, 2017
Featured Image: CBS Twitter Page.