Many Americans became familiar with Texas congressman John Ratcliffe during the Mueller hearings last week. Donald Trump was certainly impressed with the lawmakers line of questioning. Over the weekend, he tapped Ratcliffe to become the new Director of National Intelligence, succeeding Dan Coats.
Ratcliffe’s ascension to a top intelligence position has surprised a number of Democrats who knew little about him beforehand. After Trump’s announcement, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) knocked the choice and predicted opposition from Democrats.
Murphy discussed Ratcliffe while appearing on MSNBC over the weekend. “I don’t know this guy,” he said “I think he’s a television character that the president has watched on TV, and he wants to put somebody in this position who’s going to agree with his political take on intelligence.”
The Connecticut Senator continued, “I’ll certainly do my own evaluation, but it strikes me as a very inappropriate choice for the job in a moment when we are trying to lift intelligence out of the political soup. [Ratcliffe may be] one of the president’s accomplices in trying to politicize intelligence.”
Michigan Senator Gary Peter’s echoed similar sentiments. He told CNN, “I’m not sure he’s qualified for the job. The president doesn’t want people to challenge him, and when you think about an intelligence director, you want independent advice. You want to have the best available intelligence to make decisions that are based on facts and reality. That is not something our current president wants.”
The departing Coats was popular with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers. House Intelligence Chair, Adam Schiff (D-CA) tweeted, “I want to thank Dan Coats for serving as Director of National Intelligence with such distinction. He has been a great advocate for men and women of the Intelligence Community, and a good leader. Most important, he has had the independence and strength to speak truth to power.”