WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — President Donald Trump says his pick for national intelligence director has decided to withdraw from the running, citing unfair media coverage.
In a tweet Friday, Trump said Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas had decided to stay in Congress. Questions about Ratcliffe’s experience have dogged him since Trump announced his candidacy five days ago.
Trump didn’t cite any specific media reports, but tweeted that “rather than going through months of slander and libel,” he would be returning to Capitol Hill.
Ratcliffe is a frequent Trump defender who fiercely questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week. Intelligence experts had criticized his lack of experience in the field of intelligence.
He released the following statement this afternoon:
“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. 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. The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue. Accordingly, I have asked the President to nominate someone other than me for this position.”
Since the withdrawal, Trump said he will announce his other nomination soon.
….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
He accepted the resignation of former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week — He is scheduled to leave office Aug. 15.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)