Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia said he’s not interested in being the director of national intelligence, after President Donald Trump floated his name for the position, because he’s focused on running for US Senate.
“I know the problems in our intelligence community, but this is 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 told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.”
Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday evening that he is considering Collins for the top intelligence post, to replace outgoing acting Director Joseph Maguire. On Friday, he tweeted that there were four candidates in the running and that he’d have a decision “within next few weeks.”
Earlier this year, Collins announced a primary campaign against Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler was appointed by the Georgia governor to fill the seat of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired before the end of his term due to health concerns. Naming Collins to an administration post could have been a way to avoid a messy GOP battle in Georgia.
Trump was facing a March 11 deadline to nominate a new DNI or name an acting chief as federal law prevented Maguire from serving beyond that date. Trump announced Wednesday that he has named US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a staunch Trump loyalist, as acting DNI, despite his lack of experience in intelligence.
A source familiar with internal discussions told CNN that White House officials saw Grenell as a good stopgap solution for the acting DNI vacancy as the clock was running out on Maguire’s time in the position and because of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Maguire due to an intelligence briefing to Congress.
Trump became irate in a meeting with Maguire last week for allowing a congressional briefing to include a warning that the intelligence community believes Russia is already taking steps to interfere in the 2020 election with the goal of helping Trump win, according to a White House official.
Collins told Fox Business that while he’s “humbled” by Trump’s consideration, he’s “sure that the President will pick somebody appropriate for the job.”
CNN’s Ali Main, Sam Fossum and Noah Gray contributed to this report.