Rep. Chris Stewart says fellow Republican John Ratcliffe, with whom he serves on the House Intelligence Committee, is a great choice by President Donald Trump to be the next Director of National Intelligence.
Trump said on Twitter Sunday he intended to nominate Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats, who is stepping down as DNI next month.
Critics say Ratcliffe, who was elected to the House in 2014, does not have the requisite experience to become the nation’s new spymaster. He served as a U.S. Attorney, was the mayor of Heath, Texas for 8 years and worked as an aide to Sen. Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign.
Stewart pushed back against those criticisms saying Ratcliffe would be a good fit.
“It’s like the CEO of Home Depot isn’t a plumber or an electrician. He’s a business leader. The DNI is essentially someone who works with Congress, works with the President,” said Stewart. “It’s important that he has the president’s trust.”
Ratcliffe is seen as a staunch loyalist to President Trump, especially after last week’s hearings involving former special counsel Robert Mueller when he fiercely criticized the findings from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That pushback has raised questions about whether Ratcliffe would unnecessarily politicize the DNI position, but Stewart says he’s not worried that will happen.
“There’s no question his loyalty is to the United States and the American people and protecting and defending these people,” said Stewart. “He’s not going to ever turn that aside for any political considerations.”