When John Bolton was named National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump last spring, he immediately brought in two rabid neocons as his two top aides. He named Fred Fleitz as his chief of staff and Mira Ricardel was soon after named as Deputy National Security Advisor.
Fleitz was Bolton's chief of staff during the G.W. Bush Administration, first at Arms Control at the State Department and later when he was recess appointed as United Nations Ambassador. Fleitz bounced around the CIA and Pentagon for several decades and earned a reputation as a real neocon war monger. When he was last out of government, he became vice president of Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy. As of November 1, Fleitz quietly left the Trump Administration and resumed his work at CSP. No explanation for his departure, just sayonara.
Mira Ricardel's departure from the NSC was anything but quiet. She earned the wrath of First Lady Melania Trump for trying to sabotage Mrs. Trump's recent Africa trip. After demanding Ricardel's firing through quiet, behind-the-scenes efforts, the First Lady finally issued a public release, demanding her ouster and noting she does not deserve the honor of serving in the White House.
Ricardel will be given some other posting in the Administration–as far away from the White House as possible.
Ricardel, a Croatian-American, headed the defense department transition effort and immediately went to war with Defense Secretary-nominee James Mattis. She was responsible for blocking a number of Mattis appointees to Pentagon posts, and became notorious, during her brief tour at the NSC for her abusive behavior.
So two of the most well-positioned hardcore neocons are gone. It should serve as a reminder that this Administration is far more complex, divided and ideologically split than surface appearances would suggest or Democrats would argue. While the George W. Bush Administration was a haven for neocons and the Obama Administration was a safe haven for humanitarian interventionists, the Trump Administration is team of rivals all contending for the favor of the one and only decision-maker: The Donald.