President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw his nominee for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) amid criticism that Texas congressman John Ratcliffe was under-qualified.
Critics have accused John Ratcliffe of padding his intelligence credentials.
The president tweeted: “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….”
He continued: “….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.”
John Ratcliffe thanked President Trump and said he did not want the job to become “a purely political and partisan issue”.
He tweeted: “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.”
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on August 2, President Trump said John Ratcliffe was “treated very badly, very harshly by the press” and that he believes Ratcliffe “made the right decision”.
John Ratcliffe was appointed by President Trump days after his aggressive questioning of former-Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the ex-FBI director who led an inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
After he was picked, President Trump defended him as the best man to control US intelligence agencies – a frequent target of criticism by the president.
President Trump said: “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in, because as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok.
“They run amok.”
The DNI is appointed by the president and must be confirmed by the US Senate.
The position was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. The DNI oversees the 16 civilian and military agencies that make up the US intelligence community.