Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said he’s not interested in becoming the director of national intelligence just hours after President Donald Trump suggested him as a candidate for the position.
“Let me tell you right now, I know the problems in the intelligence committee. It’s not a job that interests me at this time. It’s not one that I would accept, because I’m running a Senate race down here in Georgia,” Collins, 53, said during an appearance on Fox Business on Friday morning.
Collins said that it was “humbling” to have his name mentioned as a possible nomination to the position.
Trump, speaking with reporters on Air Force One late Thursday, said that Collins is among the candidates he’s considering nominating as national intelligence director.
Trump, who was traveling to his hotel in Las Vegas from a rally in Colorado with UFC head Dana White, hasn’t had a permanent national intelligence director since Dan Coats stepped down last year. Joseph Maguire replaced Coats but served as acting director of national intelligence. He said he’s leaving the position once U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell assumes it.
Trump announced late Wednesday that Grenell will become the acting director of national intelligence, or DNI.
Trump in a tweet called Grenell “highly respected.”
“Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” Trump wrote.
“I would like to thank Joe Maguire for the wonderful job he has done, and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!” he added.
The White House said in a statement on Thursday that Grenell “is committed to a non-political, non-partisan approach as head of the Intelligence Community, on which our safety and security depend.”
The director of national intelligence position was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States. The director oversees 17 civilian and military intelligence agencies, including the CIA.
The president can make nominations to the position, but the post requires approval from the Senate. Trump did not name any other candidates he’s mulling for the permanent position.
Collins, considered a top ally of Trump’s in the House of Representatives, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia in 2020. Collins is challenging Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), a businesswoman who was nominated to the seat by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced he was stepping down due to health issues.
Loeffler received praise from Trump for her vote to acquit him on the articles of impeachment. In the same ceremony at the White House, the president also praised Collins.
“They know I’m a supporter of the president. I’m running against a senator that decided to support the president four weeks before the appointment,” Collins said on Friday on Fox Business.
“The seat could be in jeopardy because of the flaws she has. I’m a supporter of this president. I’ll continue to fight for this president. The intelligence community has to get right. I’m sure the president will pick somebody appropriate for the job.”