Trump pulls John Ratcliffe’s nomination for top intelligence post, blames ‘LameStream Media’
President Trump announced Friday he’s withdrawing his nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to replace Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence later this month — and said he would instead remain in Congress.
In a tweet, Trump said that Ratcliffe had been 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,” he wrote. “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.”
Ratcliffe, 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.”
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.
But he 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.”
He had also been the subject of a number of media reports that reported that he overstated part of his biography.
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.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.