Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) has withdrawn from consideration for the soon-to-be-vacant Director of National Intelligence [DNI] post. Ratcliffe had been nominated by President Trump to replace the soon-leaving Dan Coats. 

This withdrawal by Ratcliffe is just the latest instance of a Trump administration nomination going south after the president moved to appoint a key official without first seeking the backing of senior lawmakers or conducting a thorough vetting of the nominee. 

Unless President Trump acts quickly and nominates a solid candidate soon, his administration will be left with yet another interim cabinet head after Coats departs on August 15. As far as an acting director, many Democrats are calling for President Trump to appoint Coats’ second-in-command, Sue Gordon, as the acting director of national intelligence.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff [D-Calif] released a statement saying, “Sue Gordon is superbly qualified to serve as Acting Director of National Intelligence…and indeed, the plain language of the law requires that she be elevated to that role once Dan Coats steps down.”  

“Rather than seeking to sideline Sue Gordon, the president should recognize that she would be an excellent candidate to replace outgoing Director Coats,” he added.

Officially, the president sent out a message on Twitter blaming media pressure and the effect that it would have on Ratcliffe’s family, but that may not have been the only consideration. 

“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media,” President Trump tweeted. “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.” Trump added, “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.”

Shortly after the president took to Twitter, Ratcliffe did as well. “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 posted. “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.”