Nine months after President Trump heeded bipartisan criticism and withdrew the nomination of Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, for the director of national intelligence (DNI), Ratcliffe was confirmed as DNI by the Senate in a 49-44 vote.
Ratcliffe, nominated by Trump a second time in February, replaces interim DNI Richard Grenell who had filled the position since former DNI Dan Coates left last summer.
Just a few days after the president nominated Ratcliffe to replace Coats, he withdrew the nomination, citing likely brutal scrutiny.
“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 [mainstream media],” Trump tweeted then.
But Ratcliffe’s selection had prompted bipartisan criticism from those concerned that he didn’t have the experience to lead the intelligence community in an important role established after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to facilitate communication and coordination among the U.S.’s various intelligence agencies.
At that time, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., called Ratcliffe “a blind loyalist to the president” and expressed concern over how intelligence would be affected.
During his confirmation hearings, though, when pressed by Senate Democrats, Ratcliffe pledged that regardless of what the president says, “it will not impact the intelligence that I deliver.”