When Donald Trump announced this weekend that he was replacing his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe, the widespread assumption was that the Republican Senate would simply rubber stamp the whole thing. But if you’ve paid close attention, GOP Senators have actually killed off a number of Trump’s most idiotic nominations before they could even get to a vote. Now it looks like we may be on track for that to happen again.
The GOP Senate loves to rubber stamp Donald Trump’s terrible nominees when it can. But when Trump picks a nominee like John Ratcliffe, who’s so hilariously inept he could end up harming the entire party’s 2020 chances, the GOP Senate usually finds a way to let Trump know that he needs to withdraw the pick. The first sign of trouble came on Monday when various Republican Senators began hinting on the record to the Washington Post that they weren’t thrilled with the Ratcliffe nomination. But then things got ugly.
On Tuesday, the New York Times turned around and exposed a scandal. John Ratcliffe has claimed repeatedly that he put terrorists in prison when he was a federal prosecutor – but it turns out that never happened. This is the kind of objectively ugly scandal that prompts the media to obsessively focus on it, until Trump and/or the GOP Senate decide they need to pull the nomination in order to make the bad headlines go away.
But that might not be a victory for the Resistance in this case. John Ratcliffe has recently made clear that he intends to do Donald Trump’s corrupt bidding if he becomes Director of National Intelligence. But Ratcliffe also made clear during the Mueller hearing that he’s a corrupt buffoon who’s more likely to screw things up for Trump than do anything that actually helps him. If Trump has to withdraw Ratcliffe, he could end up lucking out by landing a replacement nominee who’s just as corrupt and personally loyal to him, but less of an incompetent idiot. In any case, Ratcliffe’s nomination is already in deep and surprisingly swift trouble.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report