The Republican-dominated Senate today confirmed Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe as the new director of national intelligence (DNI). He becomes the fourth person to hold the job for Trump in less than one year.
The vote was 49-to-44, along party lines. Ratcliffe received more votes in opposition than any DNI in the entire 15-year history of the office.
Ratcliffe's verified Twitter account follows a number of right-wing fringe accounts, including 9/11 Truthers, and a handful promoting a QAnon conspiracy theory the FBI has labeled as terrorism. This should be disqualifying, but nothing matters.
What are Ratcliffe's qualifications? Well, the willingness to do whatever the impeached and manifestly unfit president tells him to.
"Blind loyalty," as Reuters quotes a source as describing it:
Ratcliffe is known as one of Trump's most loyal and vocal supporters in Congress. He was a major defender of the Republican president throughout last year's impeachment proceedings. He also lashed out at former special counsel Robert Mueller, who had investigated Trump, when Mueller testified in the House in July.
According to media reports, Trump initially picked Ratcliffe to be DNI because he had liked his aggressive questioning of Mueller during that hearing.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said last summer Ratcliffe had been selected because he had shown "blind loyalty" to Trump.
Ratcliffe is deeply unfit to be DNI. He has little experience, has trafficked in conspiracy theories, & is poisonously partisan in a job that requires objective professionalism to make sure executive branch & Congress have solid evidence to make decisions. https://t.co/UlxOi2vZcm
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) May 21, 2020
Rep. John Ratcliffe's official, verified campaign Twitter account follows several accounts on the political fringe, including a 9/11 truther account and 4 promoting a QAnon conspiracy theory the FBI has ruled a potential source of domestic terrorism
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 5, 2020
Ratcliffe is just as unqualified and insidious as Grenell, but it is possible he'll be less competent at being insidious. https://t.co/6SyEqbMQ0A
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 21, 2020
Every Senate Democrat voted against confirming Ratcliffe as DNI but agreed to dispense with the rules to accelerate the vote so as to get rid of Grenell sooner. @julianbarnes @npfandos https://t.co/jC2QCulR3U
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) May 21, 2020
It's a sad day when a leader for national intelligence can't even get 50 votes in the U S Senate. Unbelievable. Trump era. Smh.
Senate confirms John Ratcliffe as next director of national intelligence in sharply divided vote https://t.co/knGIkOt6xs
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) May 21, 2020
The Senate has voted 49-to-44 to confirm Rep. John Ratcliffe as the next director of national intelligence. He received more votes in opposition than any DNI in the 15-year history of the office. https://t.co/W2qwkcd6SN
— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) May 21, 2020
Ratcliffe appears to take quite an interest in some of the internet's most outlandish conspiracy theories. Not exactly what you'd expect from a candidate to oversee the nation's intelligence agencies. https://t.co/wxz2ird0w1
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) May 5, 2020