Trump touts Hoekstra as potential nominee for intelligence chief

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Washington — President Donald Trump on Friday indicated that he's considering former Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra among his possible picks to be the next director of national intelligence to succeed Dan Coats.

Asked by a reporter about a replacement for Coats, Trump mentioned Hoekstra, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, adding that he'd recently spoken to Senate intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, about "different people."

President Trump on Friday indicated that he's considering former Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra among his possible picks to be the next director of national intelligence

"I like Hoekstra a lot," Trump said Friday as he left the White House for a fundraiser in the Hamptons.  

"I'm working together with Sen. Burr and the whole intelligence committee. I want to get someone that everybody can really come together with. I like Pete Hoekstra a lot. He's great. He's doing a fantastic job in the Netherlands right now." 

Trump on Thursday named Joseph Maguire, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, to be acting director of national intelligence after the resignation of deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon.

"I'm in no rush because we have a great acting (director)," Trump said Friday. "I will tell you it's a job that everybody wants — DNI. ... We have a lot of choices. A lot of people want this job." 

Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, has served as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands for nearly two years. The Senate confirmed him by voice vote in November 2017. 

He represented West Michigan in the U.S. House from 1993 to 2011 and co-chaired Trump’s campaign in Michigan in 2016. He lost the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2010 in Rick Snyder. 

Trump a week ago abruptly abandoned his plans to nominate U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, for the post after press reports that Ratcliffe had overstated his national security experience. 

The DNI position will become vacant next week with the resignation of Coats, whose intelligence community had contradicted Trump its with assessments about Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Iran nuclear deal and North Korea's nuclear program. 

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, in Washington, as he prepares to leave Washington for his annual August holiday at his New Jersey golf club.

After leaving Congress, Hoekstra lobbied for the firms Greenberg Traurig and Dickstein Shapiro and later started his own firm, Hoekstra Global Strategies.

His clients included Columbia Helicopters and the Michigan-based oil production company Core Energy, as well as some foreign clients including the Kurdish regional government.

Hoekstra, 65, was born in the Netherlands in Groningen in 1953 and came to the United States at age 3 with his parents, who settled in the Dutch-American stronghold of Holland. He became a U.S. citizen at age 9.

He graduated from Holland Christian High School and Hope College, then earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan.

Hoekstra worked for the Zeeland-based office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, where he eventually served as vice president of marketing.