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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.

Watch the video:

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

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.