We don’t really hear all that much about Melania Trump in the media except occasional digs at her immigration status and a few daring photos. That’s because the FLOTUS is one of the few unreservedly good things about this administration, and of course the media doesn’t want to go there. Her grace, her reserve, her remarkable calm at the epicenter of a tumultuous White House, and, strikingly, her sense of style (and I don’t just mean her clothes) puts her on a different plane from the Washington circus that surrounds her.
She had managed to keep her distance from the cutthroat politics of the Beltway, that is, until her collision with Mira Ricardel, National Security Advisor John Bolton’s top aide and enforcer. Ricardel apparently disparaged the First Lady to other members of the White House staff, and tried to withhold resources from her on her recent trip to Africa. Whatever personal interactions of an unpleasant nature may have passed between these women, it’s hard to imagine what provoked the office of the FLOTUS to issue the following statement:
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
Ricardel is described by those who know her as abrasive, a bureaucratic in-fighter, and one “who doesn’t suffer fools lightly.” Having mistaken the First Lady for a fool, Ms. Ricardel is the one who will suffer – along with Bolton, who has protected her since her appointment from a chorus of critics, but who cannot stand against Melania.
So Team Bolton is on the outs, which means the America Firsters within the administration who oppose our foreign policy of globalism and perpetual war are on the rise. Which leads us to contemplate the meaning of this incident. The War Party’s ranks are not filled with Mr. Nice Guys. They are nearly all of them pushy self-serving aggressive SOBs, with about as much personal charm as a rattlesnake.
I’m reminded of an essay by the conservative philosopher Claes Ryn, professor of politics at Catholic University, in which he describes the obnoxious behavior of the children of our political class in a local MacDonald’s just inside one of the Beltway’s more prestigious neighborhoods:
“Deference to grown-ups seems unknown. I used to take offense, but the children have only taken their cue from their parents, who took their cue from their parents. The adults, for their part, talk in loud, penetrating voices, some on cell phones, as if no other conversations mattered. The scene exudes self-absorption and lack of self-discipline.
“Yes, this picture has everything to do with U.S. foreign policy. This is the emerging American ruling class, which is made up increasingly of persons used to having the world cater to them. If others challenge their will, they throw a temper tantrum. Call this the imperialistic personality – if ‘spoilt brat’ sounds too crude.”
The Imperialistic Personality, indeed! It seems Ms. Ricardel had one too many temper tantrums so that even in the permissive atmosphere of Washington, D.C., it was too much. There are a lot of imperialistic personalities in that particular location, it seems, for one reason or another. But things are different in Donald Trump’s Washington, and even if we have to take down the Ricardels one by one, just think of the numbers we can rack up in the next six years.
A NOTE TO MY READERS: My apologies for the short column: I have some medical issues to take care off this week and I’m a bit pressed for time.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.