Ratcliffe says media and fellow Republicans are reason he withdrew nomination for top intelligence post
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, blamed “false media stories” and some fellow Republicans for derailing his hopes of becoming President Trump’s next director of National Intelligence and forcing the lawmaker to withdraw his nomination last month for the post.
“I certainly expected because of that a wave of false media stories that came, I expected there to be a lot of senators saying that I was too political,” Ratcliffe said during an interview of Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “I just didn’t expect some of those senators to be Republicans whose support that I needed.”
Ratcliffe added: “There is a toxic environment that makes it a difficult place to go to work.”
Trump announced in early August that Ratcliffe was withdrawing his nomination, with the president citing the reason being the treatment the Texas lawmaker received from “the LameStream Media.”
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.
He 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 likely would have faced a fierce confirmation battle as Democrats claimed the former mayor of the small town of Heath had been selected due to his loyalty rather than 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.”
A source familiar with Trump’s thinking told Fox News that there were “deep reservations” about Ratcliffe among multiple senior administration’s officials and Republican senators.
Ratcliffe also has been the subject of a number of media reports that said he overstated part of his biography and record.
The New York Times reported that Ratcliffe, who claimed he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to Hamas, had in fact investigated side issues relating to an initial mistrial rather than prosecuting the case itself.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, challenged a claim on Ratcliffe’s website saying that as U.S. attorney he arrested “over 300 illegal immigrants in a single day.” The outlet reported he played only a supporting role in a 2008 roundup of illegal immigrants, and only 45 workers were charged by prosecutors.
Later in August, Trump announced that National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire would become acting director of National Intelligence following the departure of Dan Coats from the post.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.