Ratcliffe Out as Trump’s Pick for Director of National Intelligence

Congressman John Ratcliffe said Friday that he was withdrawing his name from consideration to take over as director of national intelligence, following media scrutiny over his qualifications for the role, CBS News informed.

President Donald Trump tweeted that Ratcliffe was “being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media” and that he would be nominating someone else to the role “shortly.” 

But the President had no sense Thursday night that Ratcliffe was having second thoughts about the job, CBS News’ Major Garrett reports, according to two sources familiar with the matter, and Trump was still operating under the assumption Ratcliffe would go through with the nomination process.

Friday morning Ratcliffe called the President to say he was out, that he had not anticipated a confirmation fight and not only misread that, but also miscalculated how difficult the confirmation fight would be among Republicans  who were either lukewarm, indifferent or leaning toward hostile.

What also played a role, to a lesser extent, in Ratcliffe’s calcus was the retirement of Texas Rep. Will Hurd, which sent shockwaves through the House GOP leadership, causing them to be nervous about another House vacancy. Republican leaders wanted some stability and bringing Ratcliffe back to the House provides that.

As the President left for his golf club in Bedminster Friday, he reiterated to reporters his view that Ratcliffe has been treated harshly by the press and had received a “chilly” reception from Democrats. He also said that a lot of the Republicans didn’t yet know Ratcliffe. Nonetheless, he said he believed Ratcliffe had made the right decision in withdrawing.

“Fake news. He’s a fine man,” Trump told reporters. “I read things that were just unfair. He’s too good. He doesn’t deserve it.” Trump also said that he was considering the deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, to serve as acting director.

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