On Friday, without warning, President Trump withdrew his nomination for national intelligence chief, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). Despite having had backing from the President, the Congressman had received little support from Republican senators. Trump also expressed his concern that Ratcliffe was being mistreated by the media in a tweet saying,
“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.”
In a second tweet he stated,
“… 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.”
Ratcliffe was announced last week by the President as his nominee to replace former director of national intelligence, Sen. Dan Coats. Ratcliffe himself hasn’t been shy about conveying his uneasiness regarding Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Although the Texas Congressman is a Republican, he failed to have his Republican colleagues endorse him. Many Republicans criticized Trump for his treatment of Coats which perpetuated their hesitation to support Ratcliffe.
He was recently involved in a controversial plight due to overstatements of his experiences in national security. Ratcliffe bragged that he had been appointed to prosecute a major terrorism financing case which was intended to examine why the first of two trials resulted in a mistrial.
Similarly to the surprise Trump gave us by withdrawing Ratcliffe’s nomination, Trump also announced Friday that he is considering permitting Coat’s deputy, Sue Gordon, as acting director. He was quoted as saying,
“I like her very much. I’ve always liked Sue Gordon.” He added that “certainly she will be considered.”
By law, she would normally assume the responsibility of acting director while awaiting a permanent position, but that did not deter White House officials from looking at options to bypass her.
Trump was asked by reporters why his administration didn’t thoroughly examine the congressman’s resume prior to naming him as nominee to which he replied, “you vet for me“, despite accusing reporters of being unfair to Ratcliffe. “You save us a lot of money, actually,” he said.
Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert, James Jay Carafano, reportedly said the Ratcliffe situation was indicative of Trump’s approach to personnel. He stated,
“He brings people in. If it doesn’t work out, you get rid of them and bring other people in.”
This controversy has developed a bit of uncertainty in regards to the intelligence director position. The position was originally created after the 9/11 terror attacks and was designed to coordinate the national intelligence agencies as well as provide the president advice with no political relevance. It is required by law that the director have extensive experience in the field.
Ratcliffe was previously mayor of a small Texas city prior to being elected to congress in 2014 and was severely criticized as possibly being unable or even willing to provide facts to Trump that went against the president’s personal views. In a tweet Ratcliffe said he felt “humbled” by the nomination to begin with, but decided to request that Trump remove his nomination stating,
“I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue.”
Now that Trump has withdrawn his nomination it seems that there is no clear replacement for Coats. The president hinted to reporters that he had a few people in mind but refused to name them.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard M. Burr (R-NC) stressed to White House officials the importance of quickly moving on to another nominee. Referring to the office of the director of national intelligence he stated,
“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.”
He went on to say,
“However, there is no substitute for having a Senate-confirmed director in police to lead our intelligence community. I remain committed to moving the official nomination through regular order once it is submitted to the Senate.”
President Trump seems to have been signaled by Burr’s reference to the office’s leadership team about Gordon. Gordon is considered to be a well-regarded intelligence professional and can be viewed as politically independent. The fact that Trump has been so resistant to her has caused some upset amongst Republicans and Democrats alike.
Larry Pfeiffer, who had previously worked in the office when it was created under President George W. Bush said,
“I think he’d be making a serious mistake. Sue Gordon is about the best you can get in terms of intelligence professionals.”
“It just makes zero sense to appoint anybody other than Sue Gordon.”
President Trump has been forced to give up on his fair share of nominees in the past, even at times before a formal nomination. This has been mostly due to signs from Congress that the nominees would not receive a sufficient amount of support for confirmation on Capital Hill.
It is not uncommon for Trump to announce nominees without waiting for a formal vetting process. This has sometimes resulted in humiliating public disclosures. Last May Trump threw in the towel on his nominee Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board. When disclosures about his personal finances and articles he had written, which were said by some senators to disparage women’s economic advancements, the President had to abandon his nomination for Moore. A month prior to that Trump also surrendered plans to name former presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, to the Federal Reserve.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) was ecstatic about the withdrawal. Referring to previous cases he said,
“Rep Ratcliffe never should have been considered in the first place. This is part of a pattern from President Trump: nomination on a whim without consulting or vetting, and then forced withdrawal when a mess ensues — just like what happened with Herman Cain, Stephen Moore, [secretary of Veteran Affairs nominee] Ronny Jackson and many more. The next director of national intelligence must be someone who is nonpartisan, sees the world objectively and speaks truth to power.”
While there is no obvious nominee in sight, or at least that the President is letting on to, the country waits on pins and needles. Will Ratcliffe’s nomination withdrawal prove to be the right choice? Or will we be without. Regardless it seems that Ratcliffe may have dodged the spotlight. At least for now.
Author: 777 Media Source