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Trump says media is part of vetting his nominees: 'We save a lot of money that way'

The Hill logo The Hill 8/2/2019 Brett Samuels
a man sitting on the side of a road: Trump says media is part of vetting his nominees: 'We save a lot of money that way' © Aaron Schwartz Trump says media is part of vetting his nominees: 'We save a lot of money that way'

President Trump on Friday defended the vetting process at the White House, telling the news media that he allows it to do much of the heavy lifting while simultaneously blaming it for the withdrawal of his nominee to lead intelligence agencies.

Trump spoke to reporters at the White House just hours after he announced he would no longer nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) as director of national intelligence. He lamented that the congressman "is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media" and that the nomination process would be "miserable."

But on the South Lawn, he suggested coverage of his nominees was part of the vetting process.

"I get a name, I give it out to the press and you vet for me. A lot of time you do a very good job. Not always," Trump told reporters. "If you look at the vetting process for the White House, it is very good, but you are part of the vetting process. I give out a name to the press and you vet for me, we save a lot of money that way."

"But in the case of John, I really believe that he was being treated very harshly and very unfairly," he added.

Ratcliffe's potential nomination was undone as Republican senators expressed unease about Trump's pick, emphasizing that the director of national intelligence should be a nonpartisan post.

Several news reports in recent days have also described Ratcliffe as overstating parts of his biography relating to his work on terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor in Texas.

Ratcliffe is the latest Trump nominee to bow out of consideration amid scrutiny of their record and past remarks.

In the past 15 months, Ronny Jackson withdrew as Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Patrick Shanahan bowed out as Defense secretary nominee, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain pulled out consideration for the Federal Reserve Board and Heather Nauert took herself out of the running for U.N. ambassador.

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