U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Heath Republican, will remain in Congress instead of replacing Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday.
“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media,” Trump wrote. “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....
“....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.”
On Sunday, Axios broke the news of Trump’s intent to nominate Ratcliffe, citing sources who said Trump was thrilled by the Texas congressman’s admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing.
But since Trump’s announcement, Ratcliffe has been in hot water for supposedly exaggerating parts of his biography, like his role as the leader of an immigration crackdown while he was a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Texas. Ratcliffe vehemently defended his record.
In his own thread of tweets, Ratcliffe said he was grateful to Trump for “his intention to nominate me,” but was withdrawing his name 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,” Ratcliffe said.
“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,” he said. “The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue.”
Texas Democrats were quick to cheer the news that Ratcliffe would no longer be elevated to a position in the Trump administration.
“John Ratcliffe’s entire claim to fame was yelling at Robert Mueller for 15 minutes,” Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “Deeply unqualified and highly partisan, he would have fit right in with the Trump Administration but the results would have been terrible and dangerous for the rest of the country.”
Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor first elected in 2014, was mayor of Heath before successfully unseating the late Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, then the dean of the Texas delegation. This isn’t the first time Ratcliffe has been said to be under consideration for a position in this administration. In November, he was on a short list of possible replacements for fired U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Ratcliffe remaining in Congress means the Texas delegation will retain one more Republican in its ranks. Over the span of a little more than a week, three GOP members of the 36-member delegation — U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, of Sugar Land; U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, of Midland, and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes — announced their plans to retire in 2020.