Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Doug Collins rebuffs Trump's consideration for DNI

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Air Force One Thursday night that he was considering nominating Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) to be his next director of national intelligence, but Collins rebuffed that offer during an appearance on Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria" on Friday.

The state of play: Trump previously hinted he would intervene in the Senate race between Collins and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). The heated primary race between Collins and Loeffler has raised concerns among Republicans that Democrats could potentially win the special election for the Senate seat, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

  • The primary challenge from Collins, a top defender of Trump, has "sparked an intraparty Republican brawl."
  • Wealthy business executive Loeffler was appointed to the Senate by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp over Trump's objections when former Sen. Johnny Isakson retired.

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What he's saying: Collins said the position "is not a job of interest to me at this time. It's not one that I would accept, because I'm running a Senate race down here in Georgia."

The big picture: Trump is currently facing blowback for his appointment of Ric Grenell, a Trump loyalist and the ambassador to Germany, as acting DNI — despite the fact that he has never held a national security position in the past.

  • James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI from 2010 to 2017, told Axios' Dave Lawler that it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."
  • "I spent my life in intelligence, and found the DNI job the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. I can't imagine taking it on, and learning the ABC's of intelligence on an on-the-job basis," he added.

Worth noting, via Axios' Alayna Treene: Trump did not discuss nominating Collins for the DNI position before telling reporters Thursday night, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Go deeper: Rep. Doug Collins confirms Georgia Senate run, triggering GOP battle

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