Matthew Petersen, a nominee to the federal judiciary, has withdrawn from consideration days after a video clip showed him unable to answer basic questions about legal procedure, the White House confirmed on Monday.
Petersen, nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the third Trump judicial pick to withdraw in the past week amid criticism from Democrats and others about their qualifications.
White House spokesperson Raj Shah confirmed that Petersen’s nomination has been withdrawn and declined to comment further.
The video of Petersen that went viral on Thursday captured five minutes of brutal questioning by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., at Petersen’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee the day before.
It was posted on Twitter by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who wrote that it showed Kennedy asking Petersen “basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one.”
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017
As of Friday, the White House was standing by Petersen, with a spokesperson saying that he was qualified and that “the President’s opponents” were “trying to distract from the record-setting success the President has had on judicial nominations.”
Petersen has been a member of the Federal Election Commission since 2008 but has no trial experience.
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