In other news, prior to two mass shootings over the weekend that have rocked the nation, on Friday, President Trump announced that he was forced to withdraw his pick for the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas.
The President blamed the withdrawal of Ratcliffe’s nomination on his tough treatment at the hands of “the LameStream Media.”
In a tweet of Friday, August 2, Trump said that Ratcliffe, whom he tapped to replace Dan Coats, will stay in 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. “John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country.”
He added that he will be announcing his new nominee to replace Coats “shortly.”
But, this announcement, of course, happened before the horrific shootings this weekend, one of which was in Ratcliffe’s own state of Texas.
Ratcliffe a Major Trump Loyalist
Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor who had been a fierce defender of Trump and his agenda, was one of the most vocal critics of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The congressman made headlines last month when he grilled Mueller during a hearing on Capitol Hill. “You wrote 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided,” Ratcliffe said to Mueller. “Respectfully, by doing that, you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors.”
Ratcliffe also sided with Trump in taking a hard line on immigration, voting in January against the appropriations bill to end a government shutdown because it did not include all the funding for the president’s proposed border wall.
In the House, Ratcliffe has served on the Intelligence, Homeland Security, Judiciary and Ethics Committees. In 2016, the Heritage Foundation ranked Ratcliffe as the most conservative Texas legislator in Congress and second-most conservative legislator in the country.
Ratcliffe is a major Trump loyalist, and that is probably what led to his downfall. He would likely have faced a contentious confirmation battle as Democrats tried to prove that he had been selected due to his loyalty rather than any significant experience.
“It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.”
According to Fox News, an administration source familiar with Trump’s said that there were “deep reservations” about Ratcliffe among multiple senior administration’s officials, and that the president is now going back to the drawing board.
Ratcliffe said on Twitter that he was “humbled and honored” that Trump had initially picked him for the role.