President Trump announced Friday that Rep. John Ratcliffe is no longer his pick to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.
The move comes less than a week after he announced that the Texas Republican was his choice. Ratcliffe, 53, gained favor with Trump after his intense grilling of former special counsel Robert Mueller during his testimony before Congress.
“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people,” Trump tweeted about the Texas Republican.
“John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly,” he added.
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
The decision for him to drop out came as Ratcliffe’s potential nomination was under fire from the media and lawmakers. Democrats worried that he lacked the experience for the role and that he was too blindly loyal to Trump, especially after his intense questioning of Mueller. There was also uncertainty about whether the nomination would pass the GOP-controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday that he hadn’t yet met with Ratcliffe and wasn’t ready to blindly support the pick.
“I’d rather not address that until I’ve had a chance to meet him to discuss his background and qualifications,” McConnell said.
Ratcliffe released a statement Friday following Trump’s announcement.
“While I am and will remain very grateful to the President for his intention to nominate me as Director of National Intelligence, I am withdrawing from consideration,” Ratcliffe wrote. “I was humbled and honored that the President put his trust in me to lead our nation’s intelligence operations and remain convinced that when confirmed, I would have done so with the objectivity, fairness and integrity that our intelligence agencies need and deserve. However, I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina also released a statement.
“I respect John Ratcliffe’s decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Director of National Intelligence, and I appreciate him considering serving his nation in a new role,” Burr said. As the White House determines its next nominee, I‘m heartened by the fact that ODNI has an experienced and capable leadership team to help see it through this transition. However, there is no substitute for having a Senate-confirmed director in place to lead our Intelligence Community.
“I remain committed to moving the official nomination through regular order once it is submitted to the Senate,” Burr added.
Ratcliffe has served in Congress since 2015 and is a member of both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. Prior to being elected, Ratcliffe as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
Author: Zachary Halaschak
Source: Washington Examiner: ‘Treated very unfairly’: Trump blasts media after Ratcliffe withdraws as spy chief pick