Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) seemed to close the door on being nominated to be the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after it was reported that President Donald Trump was considering tapping him to fill the position.
Trump named the United States Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, to be the acting Director of National Intelligence on February 20.
In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, Trump thanked Grenell for “stepping in to serve” and said he would announce a “terrific candidate” for the DNI position soon.
Thank you to our great US Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, for stepping in to serve as acting DNI. I will be nominating a terrific candidate for the job very soon. Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2020
According to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Grenell can serve as the acting DNI until March 11, unless Trump nominates a replacement before that date. Grenell could then serve in that position until the Senate confirmed Trump’s nominee.
However, in an interview on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria” on Friday morning, Collins responded to reports that Trump was considering nominating him to be DNI, “This is not a job that’s of interest to me, and it’s not one that I’d accept.”
On January 29, Collins — a staunch supporter of the president — announced his bid for the Senate that was left vacant by Johnny Isakson who retired at the end of last year.
Trump reportedly pressured Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to name Collins to fill the seat until the election later this year. However, Kemp nominated Kelly Loeffler instead.
Some conservatives were worried that Loeffler would not be as conservative as Collins. However, according to a tracker of how senators have voted, Loeffler has voted 100% “ in line with Trump’s position” since she was sworn in earlier this year.
Collins’ decision to run for the Senate did not go over well with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) which said his campaign could hurt other candidates’ electoral prospects.
“Doug Collins’ selfishness will hurt [Sen.] David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who stand to bear the burden of it for years to come,” NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin wrote in a statement in response to the news.
Additionally, the NRSC said that it “stands firmly behind Sen. Kelly Loeffler and urges anyone who wants to re-elect President Trump, hold the GOP senate majority, and stop socialism to do the same.”
Nominating Collins to the DNI position was seen as a way to defuse a primary contest for the Georgia seat.
However, if Collins accepted the nomination, it’s unclear how the decision would play in the Senate. When Trump nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) for the same position last year, senators balked at the nomination citing his lack of experience in the intelligence field.
Trump’s decision to consider nominating Collins comes after intelligence officials warned that Russian operatives were working to help get Trump re-elected. Trump reportedly lashed out at outgoing DNI Joseph Maguire for allowing intelligence officials to give that briefing.
A Collins nomination would likely raise concerns among Democrats that Trump was trying to politicize the intelligence community.