President Trump on Friday withdrew his nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be director of national intelligence (DNI) to replace outgoing DNI Daniel Coats, explaining the move by saying that the nomination process would have been too “miserable” for his family to deal with.
“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,” the president tweeted. “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.”
….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
— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) August 2, 2019
Trump announcement on Sunday that he had chosen Ratcliffe to replace Coats spurred an avalanche of negative media attacks this week, with Democrats calling him everything from a demagogic “television character” to a “fascist clown.” Democrats even accused Ratcliffe of padding his resume during his 2014 run for congress in Texas.
According to the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, Ratcliffe’s team felt abandoned by the White House in the midst of the onslaught.
Just to clarify to avoid confusion, this assessment isn't from Ratcliffe's office.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) August 2, 2019
Other individuals who have been mentioned as contenders for the post are Gen. Joseph Dunford, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff to Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Principal Deputy DNI Susan Gordon, a favorite of the deep staters.
A potential Fleitz nomination would signal that the president is serious about “downsizing” the the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), as Fleitz has advocated for its elimination in the past.
According to the New York Times, Trump has already removed Gordon from consideration.
The backtrack leaves Mr. Trump without any obvious candidate to fill one of the country’s most important national-security jobs, heightening scrutiny on what will happen with Sue Gordon, Mr. Coats’s No. 2. Mr. Trump has already decided not to allow her to rise to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Mr. Coats steps down, according to people familiar with his plans.
The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who had expressed doubts about Mr. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Trump recently blocked Ms. Gordon from personally delivering an intelligence briefing after she arrived at the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, Amanda J. Schoch, said Ms. Gordon was not blocked from attending any recent briefing, but she declined to comment about what happened inside the Oval Office.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)