President Trump is now considering U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra and Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe as candidates to be the next director of National Intelligence, according to sources familiar with the process.
Trump has said he has four to five candidates he is considering for the cabinet-level post, which has been headed by two acting directors since Dan Coats stepped down last August. Former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Joseph Maguire served as acting DNI until he resigned earlier this month.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, was appointed last week by Trump to serve as acting DNI. Grenell is an outspoken Trump loyalist with a large conservative following on Twitter and also the first openly gay person to serve in a cabinet-level position.
The news of Trump considering Hoekstra and Ratcliffe added two more names to a growing list of candidates to fill the position.
Late last week it was reported that Trump was considering Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., for the permanent director of National Intelligence job, but Collins told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Friday morning that while he’s humbled by the possible offer, he is focused on running for Senate and would not accept the job.
“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 said.
Ratcliffe was Trump’s nominee to be DNI last summer, but withdrew from consideration. The top Democrat on Senate Intelligence, Mark Warner of Virginia, has been among those openly critical of Ratcliffe being nominated to serve as DNI.
If nominated by Trump, Ratcliffe will likely face a fierce confirmation battle as Democrats argue the former mayor of the small town of Heath had been selected due to his loyalty rather than experience.
Hoekstra, a former congressman from Michigan who chaired the House Intelligence Committee from 2004-2007, has already been Senate confirmed to his ambassador post, so he has been vetted and approved once by the Senate.
Fox News’ Tyler Olsen contributed to this report.