Mathew Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission and hopeful Trump pick for federal court, has withdrawn from consideration after struggling to answer basic legal questions.
Petersen was nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. While the president believed in Petersen to be a good pick for the position, the Senate Judiciary Committee thought otherwise. During the hearing, Petersen was asked a series of questions regarding his legal experience as well as potential judge responsibilities.
The Trump nominee struggled to answer Senator John Kennedy’s most basic questions about the rules of evidence and civil procedure. Kennedy, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, asked Petersen if he ever tried a case, or if he knew what the “Dauber standard” is. Petersen was unable to answer both questions and more. You can watch the segment for yourself.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017
Later, Petersen wrote a letter to President Trump in which he announced his withdrawal as court nominee.
“I am not stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your Administration and the Senate.” wrote Petersen.
In the letter, Petersen also told the president that he believed his twenty years of public service could have carried more weight at the hearing, but they were dismantled by his “two worst minutes on television”.
The Federal Election Commision member is the third Trump judicial nominee to withdraw in the last week, next to Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer.
During an interview on WWL-TV in Louisiana, Kennedy said that Peterson was a “decent guy” but not qualified for becoming a judge on the Committee. The senator was even called by Trump over the weekend to express his support for his work on the Judiciary Committee. More so, during his conversation with the president, Kennedy noted that Trump does not even interview his nominees but leaves the task to his staff. In addition, Trump told Kennedy that Petersen is a “really smart guy”.
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