Donald Trump‘s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, a former Indiana senator who’s held the position since 2017, is officially stepping down from his position on August 15, and the President has nominated congressman John Ratcliffe to take his place. The conservative representative from Texas’s 4th District reportedly met with Trump to discuss the job nearly two weeks ago, and gained national attention after going after Special Council Robert Mueller during his testimony before Congress last week.
Ratcliffe said during the public hearing, “I agree with Chairman Nadler this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. But he damn sure should not be below the law which is where Volume II of this report puts him.” He will also be a key interrogator during the public impeachment hearings beginning on November 13.
The 53-year-old Republican is originally from Mount Prospect, Illinois, but has represented Texas in Congress since 2015. Married to Michele Ratcliffe, with whom he has two daughters, Ratcliffe is ranked as the second most conservative legislator in the country.
Here’s what you need to know about John Ratcliffe….
1. Ratcliffe Met His Wife Michele in Law School
Born on October, 20, 1965, Ratcliffe was one of six children growing up in northwest Chicago. After he graduated from Carbondale Community High School, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Ratcliffe continued his education studying law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he earned his Juris Doctor. It was also while studying at SMU that he first met the woman who would become his wife, Michele. She is bar certified in the state of Texas, and they have lived together in Heath, Texas, for 19 years.
2. Ratcliffe Started His Career in Law Before Becoming Turning to Politics
Board certified in civil trial law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Ratcliffe worked as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, now formally called Dedman School of Law at SMU, and Texas Wesleyan University. In 2004, he was elected as the mayor of Heath, Texas, a position he held for four consecutive terms.
That same year, Ratcliffe was appointed to be the Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas. In 2007, he was named the district’s acting U.S. attorney. After a brief stint in which he returning to practicing law, partnering up with former Attorney General John Ashcroft to form the firm Ashcroft, Sutton, Ratcliffe, he returned to the political sphere to work as Mitt Romney’s aide in 2012.
In 2014, Ratcliffe ran office in the U.S. House of Representative, and beat our 17-term incumbent Ralph Hall, who was then 91-years-old, to represent the 4th district of Texas. He was endorsed by the NRA, former congressman Ron Paul, and former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee.
3. Daughters Riley and Darby Visit Him Often in D.C.
Ratcliffe shares two children with his wife Michelle, daughters Darby and and Riley Ratcliffe. Their eldest child Riley plays soccer, and is a student at Texas A&M. She is currently in a relationship with boyfriend Jarrod Rasberry.
Darby is a student at Rockwell-Health High School, and is an avid competitive diver. Based on both of Ratcliff’s daughters’ Instagram photos, they are incredibly close with one another and they both regularly visit Washington, D.C. to visit their father.
4. Ratcliffe Helped Trump Overturn Obama’s 1033 Program
While there have been a few conservative representatives breaking ties from Trump’s Republican party, Ratcliffe is not one of them.
Seven months after Trump was inaugurated, he and Ratcliffe worked together in overturning President Obama’s restriction access to the 1033 program, which limited the amount of surplus military equipment police is given, a regulation implemented following the shooting of un-armed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Under Obama, the 1033 program required justification for the surplus material, and mandated federal supervision training.
Under Trump, these accountability measures were loosened with Ratcliffe leading the charge. The representative said, “I’m grateful we have a partner in President Trump who recognizes the importance of giving our brave men and women in law enforcement every tool they need to keep our communities safe.”
5. Ratcliffe is the Second Most Conservative Representative in the Country
Since Trump was elected, Ratcliffe has supported the President’s highly controversial Muslim ban stating, “I applaud Trump’s actions to vamp up the vetting of refugees to enter our country.”
The Texas congressman supported FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal net neutrality, and votes in support of pro-life bills.