Updated: Trump names intelligence chief, Hoekstra had been in the mix

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra | Roel Wijnants via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Updated, 7:48 a.m., with Trump’s appointment of Maguire, and at 1:03 p.m. with new comments on Hoekstra

President Donald Trump has named Joseph Maguire acting director of national intelligence (DNI). Maguire is the current director of the National Counterterrorism Center.*

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Holland), President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands, had been considered for the post, CNN reported. On Friday morning, Trump reportedly complimented Hoekstra while speaking to the media in Washington, but did not say if he would nominate the former congressman for the permanent post.*

“I like Hoekstra a lot,” Trump said, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. “He’s great. He’s doing a fantastic job in the Netherlands right now.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has said he’s stepping down on Aug. 15.

Trump’s first choice, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), withdrew earlier this month amid reports that he had falsified his resume. Other possible nominees were NSA Director Mike Rogers — a former U.S. Navy admiral, not the former Michigan congressman — and former Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

Hoekstra jumped on the Trump bandwagon during the 2016 campaign, tweeting a photo with him eating McDonald’s during a day of Michigan campaign stops. Hoekstra was considered a safe choice for the DNI post, since he’s already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, according to CNN. He serves as ambassador to the Netherlands, where he was born.

Time had a frank assessment of Hoekstra in 2017: “His appointment to ambassador was met with some disdain in his native country, as some of the former Republican congressman’s conservative ideals — including opposition to same-sex marriage and gay rights — run contrary to what most in the highly progressive country believe.”

In 2017, he faced controversy while speaking on a panel when he was confronted about anti-Muslim remarks in which he claimed there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Although Hoekstra claimed it was “fake news” — a favorite Trump attack — a Dutch TV interview surfaced with him saying it. He later apologized.

Prior to that, Hoekstra was an executive with furniture-maker Herman Miller. He was elected in 1993 to represent the 2nd Congressional District in West Michigan after primarying U.S. Rep. Guy Vander Jagt, longtime chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In 2009, Hoekstra tweeted details while traveling to Afghanistan and Iraq, raising national security concerns, which he dismissed. He announced his retirement in 2010 to run for governor.

That year, he lost in the GOP primary to Rick Snyder, who would go on to serve two terms as governor. Hoekstra also was trounced by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in the 2012 election, where his China-themed ad was denounced as racist.

After leaving elected office, the Holland Republican joined two Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firms, Dickstein Shapiro and Greenberg Traurig. Hoekstra also was named a fellow at the conservative D.C. Heritage Fund think tank.

Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.


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