A federal judicial nominee who was the subject of a viral video this month when he failed to answer basic legal questions during his confirmation hearing has withdrawn his nomination after facing scrutiny over his lack of experience last week, a White House official confirmed to the Washington Examiner.
President Trump nominated Matthew Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission, to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But under questioning by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was unable to answer questions about legal terms.
Petersen also revealed he has never tried a case in court.
Kennedy’s five-minute exchange with Petersen was shared by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and has been viewed more than 8 million times.
MUST WATCH: Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump’s US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy. pic.twitter.com/fphQx2o1rc— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017
In his letter withdrawing his name from consideration, Petersen said his nomination has “become a distraction — and that is not fair to you or your Administration.”
“I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television,” he wrote. “However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your Administration and the Senate.”
Petersen is the third of Trump’s district court nominees to face scrutiny and ultimately be pulled from consideration.
The nominations of Brett Talley, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and Jeff Mateer, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, are not proceeding.
Talley has never tried a case and failed to disclose on a Senate questionnaire that his wife is the chief of staff for White House counsel Don McGahn.
Mateer, meanwhile, made derogatory comments about transgender children, calling them evidence of “Satan’s plan.”