President Donald Trump named U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as the acting director of national intelligence this week, but the man Trump had his sights set on as a possible permanent option for the post said he’s not interested.
Grenell will replace acting intelligence chief Joseph Maguire, and while his selection does not require a Senate confirmation, a permanent pick would have to be approved by the upper chamber.
The president told reporters Thursday aboard Air Force One he was considering Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., for Director of National Intelligence, but the Trump loyalist was on the Fox Business Network later in the day and declined any consideration.
“What an honor to have this distinction that President Trump would like you to be the new head of the DNI,” host Maria Bartiromo told the lawmaker.
(Source: Fox Business)
“It is humbling. It’s amazing to have the president think that much of you, to mention my name among others to be this position,” Collins said.
“Let me tell you right now, I know the problems in the intelligence committee. It’s not a job that would interest me, not one that I would accept because I’m running a Senate race down here in Georgia,” he added.
Collins is running against incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in an upcoming special election. The primary challenge has resulted in unwanted tension the party could do without, with the congressman questioning Loeffler’s support of Trump.
Had he been tapped to replace Grenell, this controversy would have been avoided.
“Everybody knows I’m a supporter of the president,” Collins said. “They know how much I have supported this president through the sham impeachment and everything else. But I’m running against a senator who was just newly appointed who decided to support the president three weeks before she got the appointment.”
As the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Collins played a central role in defending Trump in the partisan impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
He cited polling to say that in Loeffler, they have “a candidate down here that could actually put the seat in jeopardy because of the flaws she has.”
“Look, I’m very humbled by this president. I’m a supporter of this president,” Collins said. “I’ll continue to fight for this president in the House this year and we’ll be in the Senate next year, because this intelligence community has to get right and I’m sure the president will pick somebody appropriate for that job.”
Collins stressed that he was the person President Trump wanted to get the Senate appointment that Loeffler received.
“The people of Georgia have been coming to us and they’re thanking us for being in the race,” he said. “Because they know I’m a supporter of the president, I’m the one that he actually wanted to be appointed to this job. And we’re looking forward to continuing the Senate race.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee sees it differently, denouncing the decision by Collins to primary Loeffler.
NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin called it “a selfish and shortsighted decision.”
“Doug Collins’ selfishness will hurt David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who will stand to bear the burden of it for years to come. All he has done is put two senate seats, multiple house seats, and Georgia’s 16 electoral votes in play,” McLaughlin said in a statement
— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) January 29, 2020
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