Trump judicial pick who drew ridicule at hearing withdraws

Sheldon Whitehouse

In Matthew Petersen's letter to President Donald Trump withdrawing his judicial nomination, Petersen says he is "no stranger to political realities" and did not wish to be a "continued distraction" to the President's or Administration's work.

"I had hoped that my almost two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television", he went on to say.

- A Trump judicial nominee whose inability to answer basic legal questions at his confirmation hearing brought him widespread ridicule has withdrawn, a White House official said Monday.

KENNEDY: State or federal court?

Petersen: Senator Kennedy, I don't have that readily at my disposal, but I'd be happy to take a closer look at that.

"Mr. Petersen has spent almost a decade as a commissioner of an important federal agency overseeing its litigation on regulatory issues - the very kinds of issues federal district court in DC decides", Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said Friday. Kennedy then asked Petersen about several legal terms, which Petersen was unable to define.

Kennedy said he was suprised when he learned that Petersen had no litigation experience.

KENNEDY: As a trial judge, you're obviously going to have witnesses. John Kennedy pressed Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission who testified he had never tried a case, on his qualifications to the bench.


Mateer ran into trouble over 2015 speeches including one in which he referred to transgender children as being part of "Satan's plans", CNN reported.

These are embarrassing setbacks to Trump's otherwise successful push to fill up federal courts with his lifetime judges.

It doesn't sound like the president cares if a few of his nominees go down.

Kennedy told WWL-TV Monday that he did not know that Petersen was so inexperienced for the position.

"And I said, 'Thank you, Mr. President.' And I intend to do that". He doesn't interview these guys.

Until last week, Trump's record of getting judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate stood out as a bright spot for a president who has struggled for big wins on Capitol Hill.

Petersen's withdrawal took place on Saturday, according to the White House official.

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