WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he thinks the confirmation process for his nominee for director of national intelligence would have been a "long, hard slog."
Trump told reporters Friday before leaving Washington that John Ratcliffe is an "outstanding man," and said he was treated unfairly by the press.
Trump says he will be reviewing three other candidates this weekend to succeed Dan Coats, who resigned last week.Ratcliffe, a Republican congressman from Texas and a Trump loyalist, had been criticized for exaggerating elements of his resume and for a lack of experience in the field of intelligence. The director of national intelligence oversees more than 15 U.S. intelligence agencies.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says his pick for national intelligence director has decided to withdraw from the running, citing unfair media coverage.
In a tweet Friday, Trump said Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas had decided to stay in Congress. Questions about Ratcliffe's experience have dogged him since Trump announced his candidacy five days ago.
Trump didn't cite any specific media reports, but tweeted that "rather than going through months of slander and libel," he would be returning to Capitol Hill.
Trump accepted the resignation of former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week.
Ratcliffe is a frequent Trump defender who fiercely questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week. Intelligence experts had criticized his lack of experience in the field of intelligence.
In a statement, Ratcliffe said, "While I am and will remain very grateful to the President for his intention to nominate me as Director of National Intelligence, I am withdrawing 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," the statement said.
"However," he added, "I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue."