Mira Ricardel

Mira Radielovic Ricardel (formerly Baratta; born July 5, 1960),[2] is an American government official who served as Deputy National Security Advisor from May 2018 to November 2018, until being fired at the request of First Lady Melania Trump.[3] She has since joined the Chertoff Group.[4]

Mira Ricardel
Mira Ricardel official photo.jpg
30th United States Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
May 15, 2018 – November 14, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRicky L. Waddell
Succeeded byCharles Kupperman
Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security
In office
September 11, 2017 – May 14, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byEric Hirschhorn
Succeeded byDaniel Hill (acting)
Personal details
Mira P. Radielovic

(1960-07-05) July 5, 1960 (age 61)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin[1]
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Robert Baratta (divorced)
Vincent Ricardel
EducationGeorgetown University (BS)
Tufts University

Earlier in the Trump administration, Ricardel served as a Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director in the Office of Presidential Personnel,[5] and Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration. In years prior to that, she served as a foreign policy advisor to U.S. Senator Bob Dole and held positions in the U.S. Department of Defense during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Early life and educationEdit

Born Mira P. Radielovic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,[6] Ricardel is of Croatian descent.[7] Her father, Peter Radielovich,[8] came from Breza, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was 16 years old when he survived the Bleiburg repatriations. After briefly attending Zagreb University, he left Yugoslavia in 1954. After two years in Heidelberg, where he met and married his wife, he arrived in the United States in 1956.[9][7]

Ricardel grew up in Pasadena, California, and at home spoke the Croatian language.[7][10] Her family belonged to the Croatian Catholic Church and attended Mass in Arcadia, California.[7][10]

Ricardel received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, graduating in 1982.[2] While at Georgetown, she was a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon professional foreign service sorority.[6]

She then did doctoral coursework at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, but did not complete her degree.[5]


Politically, Ricardel has characterized herself as a "Reagan Republican".[10] Her public service began in 1986, working at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency as a congressional affairs specialist and later as a deputy director for congressional affairs. She served at the agency until 1989.[11][12]

Aide to DoleEdit

From 1989 to 1996, Ricardel worked as a legislative assistant to Senate Republican leader Bob Dole, drafting legislation and specializing in foreign affairs and defense policy.[11] She made appearances in public,[13] and her work with Dole earned her a portrayal in the nationally-circulated Weekly Standard in 1995.[10] During the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995, her personal knowledge of the languages and cultures involved was credited with improving Dole's understanding of the conflict. One official said, "She knows the issues, so he knows the issues."[14]

Ricardel's Croatian heritage brought forth accusations that she was influencing Dole to take an anti-Serbian policy stance.[10] But in fact Dole had a long record of warning about the actions and character of Serbia leader Slobodan Milosevic. Ricardel said of Dole in 1999, "He's been out there for a decade saying we need to get involved. And no one's been paying attention. Or they pay attention for a while and manage the problem, but they don't solve it."[15]

Then known as Mira Baratta, in a defense-related meeting in 2001

Ricardel served as an advisor on defense and foreign policy on Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, when he won the Republican nomination but lost the general election to Bill Clinton.[2][16]

Freedom HouseEdit

Ricardel served as a vice president for programming with the nonprofit organization Freedom House from 1997 to 1998 and as an independent consultant from 1998 to 2000.[11] During some of this time she lived in New York City and was a close neighbor of Monica Lewinsky.[2]

George W. Bush administrationEdit

From 2001 to 2003, Ricardel was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs for Eurasia and was responsible for coalition building between the U.S. and governments in the Caucasus, Central Asian, and Balkans regions.[12][17]

From 2003 to 2005, Ricardel was the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. She was the primary adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Defense regarding Europe, Eurasia, NATO, nuclear forces, missile defense, and arms control.[12][17]

The Washington Post reported that "She developed a reputation as a Russia hawk and was seen as a tough bureaucratic player with a strong personality". One former colleague later said, "She’s a very tough woman, very smart, does not suffer fools well. And if you happen to be the fool, she will let you know".[3]

Private sectorEdit

After leaving the Defense Department, Ricardel spent one year as Vice President of International Business Development for Teachscape, a company that creates educational training and support.[17]

From 2006 to 2015, Ricardel was employed by the Boeing Company as Vice President, Strategic Missile & Defense Systems, as well as Vice President of International Business Development, Network and Space Systems.[5] During her time with Boeing she was a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.[18]

In 2015, Ricardel joined Federal Budget IQ as a consultant.[19] Despite the orientation of its work, that of an involved governmental research firm, she was not considered a registered lobbyist.[20]

Donald Trump administrationEdit


Ricardel was part of Donald Trump's presidential transition team[21] as a Department of Defense advisor.[22]

Ricardel was looked at for positions in the new administration in the Defense and State Departments, but was twice blocked based upon past bureaucratic run-ins, in the first instance by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and in the second by Department of State Chief of Staff Margaret Peterlin.[3] Ricardel had blocked some nominees wanted by Mattis because of potential Democratic ties or having supported Hillary Clinton in the past, instead preferring "Republican loyalists."[23]

Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and SecurityEdit

Under Secretary Ricardel (front, right of center) at the USA Partnership Pavilion ribbon cutting at the Singapore Airshow in February 2018

On March 30, 2017, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Ricardel for Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security in the U.S. Department of Commerce.[5] On April 28, 2017, Ricardel's nomination was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.[24] The committee approved her nomination and she was confirmed by the entire U.S Senate on August 3, 2017,[25] by voice vote.[26]

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made a statement congratulating Ricardel on her new position: "Since coming on board [at the Commerce Department], she has helped keep sensitive technologies out of the hands of those who would do us harm, while also working to ensure that imports do not threaten to impair our national security."[3]

Deputy National Security AdvisorEdit

On April 23, 2018, Ricardel was named as the next Deputy National Security Advisor by the new National Security Advisor, John R. Bolton. The position did not require Senate confirmation and she took office in May.[3]

One of Ricardel's first actions was to push for the elimination of the position of White House cybersecurity chief,[27] which was done on May 15, 2018.[28] White House officials quoted Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 70 in defending the move, which was criticized by many within the cybersecurity community.[29]

In July 2018, reported difficulties between Ricardel and NSC staffer Jennifer Arangio was one of the factors that led to Arangio's dismissal.[30] Despite past conflicts, the White House said that Ricardel was working effectively with the Mattis-led Defense Department.[23][31] However, subsequent reports in September 2018 indicated that the Mattis-Ricardel embattlement was still in place,[32][33] while other reports said that the conflict between the two had been overblown. Ricardel continued to be portrayed in the media as a tough bureaucratic opponent.[23]

On November 13, 2018, First Lady Melania Trump publicly called for Ricardel's firing, an unusual move.[34] The unpleasantries between them reportedly originated with a dispute over personnel presence on the plane for the First Lady's visit to Africa, and subsequent alleged negative leaking on the part of Ricardel against the First Lady.[34][35] Bolton still supported Ricardel, but it was not enough,[35] as by this point, few other officials supported her.[36] Bloomberg News reported that Ricardel "had caused friction" and was "widely disliked among other White House staff,"[37][34] while Politico, quoting anonymous administration officials, gave a similar assessment.[36] The following day, the White House announced Ricardel would leave her position and "transition to a new role" within the administration.[38][39][35][40] In a public statement Ricardel said it had been "an honor" to serve in the White House.[41]

Subsequent developmentsEdit

By mid-November, Ricardel had reportedly been offered nearly a dozen other positions within the Trump administration, including the post of United States Ambassador to Estonia, which she refused.[37] In January 2019, Fox News reported that she was "under active consideration for a top job at the Pentagon";[42] that did not happen. Since November 2019, Ricardel has served as Principal of Chertoff Group,[43] a security consulting firm founded by Michael Chertoff.[4]

Memberships, awards, and honorsEdit

In July 2005, Ricardel was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.[5]

Ricardel was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as of May 2017.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

While at the Fletcher School, she met Robert Baratta, who has been involved in aspects of Virginia politics and the federal government.[45] They married and she became known as Mira Baratta.[6]

After her marriage to Baratta ended, she married Vincent Ricardel, a photographer.[2] She became known as Mira Ricardel. Her husband is Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.[46]


  1. ^ "Statement for Completion by Presidential Nominees" (PDF). Congress.gov. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Steve Straehley (March 23, 2018). "Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration: Who Is Mira Ricardel?". AllGov.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Josh Rogin (April 23, 2018). "John Bolton's new deputy is a hawk with sharp elbows, just like him". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2018. Story also visible outside paywall at this link.
  4. ^ a b "Mira Ricardel". The Chertoff Group. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov. March 30, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017 – via National Archives.
  6. ^ a b c Twelfth Line, Alpha Chapter Sisters List, accessed May 19, 2018
  7. ^ a b c d "Croatian American Mira Radielovic Ricardel Named to Trump Transition Team". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  8. ^ "Eulogy for Petar Radielović". Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "Donald Trump chose Mira Radielovic Ricardel from BiH in his Team - Sarajevo Times". November 17, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Bosnia's Mira Image". December 25, 1995. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Resume - Mira R. Baratta" (PDF). Wayback Machine - Department of Defense. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 17, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Biography" (PDF). Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Top Russian Diplomat is AFPC Guest". American Foreign Policy Council. October 15, 1991. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  14. ^ Russell Watson (December 18, 1994). "A Sly Game Of 'Liar's Poker'". Newsweek. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "Sending out an SOS". Salon.com. April 19, 1999. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Washington Journal: Wednesday". C-SPAN.org. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "Revolving Door: Mira Ricardel Employment Summary | OpenSecrets". Opensecrets.org. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Mira R. Ricardel, Campaign Fund & Political Contribution". Electionfund.org. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  19. ^ News, Defense. "Sources: Mattis, Ricardel clashed over Pentagon appointees". Defense News. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  20. ^ "Lobbyists abound on Trump transition". Politico. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Inside Trump's shadow national security council". The Washington Post. January 19, 2017. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "Current Agency Action Team structure". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  23. ^ a b c Mitchell, Ellen (October 2, 2018). "Bolton's top deputy doesn't shy from 'intellectual knife fight'". The Hill. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "PN364 - Nomination of Mira Radielovic Ricardel for Department of Commerce, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Congress.gov. April 28, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. ^ Macagnone, Michael (August 3, 2017). "Senate Confirms Flood Of Trump Nominees". Law 360. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "PN364 - Nomination of Mira Radielovic Ricardel for Department of Commerce, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". www.congress.gov. August 3, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  27. ^ "Bolton pushing to eliminate White House cyber job". Politico.com. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  28. ^ "White House sheds cyber coordinator role – TechCrunch". Techcrunch.com. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  29. ^ "White House eliminates top cyber adviser post". Politico.com. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  30. ^ Toosi, Nahal (July 13, 2018). "Another Top NSC Official Ousted Under Bolton". Politico. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  31. ^ Manson, Katrina (July 8, 2018). "Mattis Battles to Hold Line with Trump as Nato Summit Looms". Financial Times. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  32. ^ "Report: Trump Tiring of James Mattis, Thinks He's a Dem". Msn.com. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  33. ^ Cooper, Helene (September 15, 2018). "Fraying Ties With Trump Put Jim Mattis's Fate in Doubt". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink (November 13, 2018). "Melania Trump Says Bolton Deputy Ricardel Should Be Ousted". Bloomberg News. Retrieved November 13, 2018. [Ricardel] clashed with the first lady’s staff after threatening to withhold National Security Council resources during Melania Trump’s trip to Africa last month unless Ricardel or another NSC official was included in her entourage, one person familiar with the matter said. Ricardel was officially fired on November 14, 2018. She will have another role in the Administration,(role not specified). Reported by CNN.
  35. ^ a b c Fabian, Jordan (November 14, 2018). "Bolton aide exits White House after high-profile clash with first lady". The Hill. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  36. ^ a b Restuccia, Rew; Oprysko, Caitlin. "White House dumps senior official after clash with Melania Trump". POLITICO. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  37. ^ a b Jacobs, Jennifer (November 16, 2018). "Trump Offered to Nominate Ricardel as Ambassador to Estonia, Sources Say". Bloomberg News. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  38. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion (November 14, 2018). "National Security Aide Mira Ricardel to Leave White House". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  39. ^ "Trump aide Ricardel forced out after showdown with first lady". Reuters. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  40. ^ AP (November 14, 2018). "Trump aide Mira Ricardel is leaving the White House after Melania called for her dismissal". CNBC. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  41. ^ "Trump aide ousted by first lady says service was 'an honor'". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  42. ^ Griffin, Jennifer (January 8, 2019). "Mira Ricardel, the Bolton deputy ousted after spat with Melania Trump, up for top Pentagon job". Fox News. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  43. ^ "Mira Radielovic Ricardel". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  44. ^ "Membership Roster". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  45. ^ Our Team, Partner, Capital Results, accessed May 19, 2018
  46. ^ "Vincent Ricardel". National Endowment for the Humanities. Retrieved September 10, 2019.

External linksEdit