At least not everyone in Trumpland likes to hang onto positions of power they are not qualified for.
One of Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to the United States district court for the District of Columbia, Matthew Petersen, pulled out after his abject incompetence was displayed for the world to see. Petersen, who has been serving as a commissioner with the Federal Election Commission since 2008 but has absolutely no trial experience, did not have any idea what he had signed up for when he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Wednesday.
Republican Senator John Kennedy, who does have trial experience, seemed to be in an unrelenting mood. With only five minutes to question five nominees, Kennedy began with a general question.
“Have any of you not tried a case to verdict in a courtroom?” he asked the five nominees present.
Petersen raised his hand. From there on, it was a total wreck.
Had he ever been involved in a jury trial? Nope. Civil trial? Nope. Criminal? Bench? You know how this goes.
Then, Kennedy descended on Petersen — utterly and unsparingly — beginning with the most innocuous of law questions.
“Do you know what a motion in limine is?” Kennedy asked Trump’s judicial nominee.
“I would probably not be able to give you a good definition,” Petersen said.
“Do you know what the Younger abstention doctrine is?” Kennedy asked.
“I’ve heard of it, but again,” Petersen embarrassingly added.
The entire ordeal is so cringe-inducing that after Petersen’s grilling was put on social media, it immediately went viral, drawing scorn and anger in equal measure. This was just another tangible proof that the man at the helm of it all — President Donald Trump — really did not have any inkling of what he was up to.
Check out the video yourself.
Days after Petersen’s incompetence became a subject of mockery, he decided he could not take it anymore and rightly pulled out of the race, as reported by the Washington Post. At least it was heartening to see some common sense in one of Trump’s surrogates.
“While I am honored to have been nominated for this position, it has become clear to me over the past few days that my nomination has become a distraction — and that is not fair to you or your Administration,” Petersen wrote to Trump during the weekend.
NEW: Matthew Petersen, Trump judicial nominee questioned before Senate Judiciary Committee last week, withdraws, writing, "My nomination has become a distraction." pic.twitter.com/fzErMV3BnG— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 18, 2017
It was good to see someone in Trumpland having grasped what common sense dictates. But more than that, it was shame that put Petersen out of his misery. One wonders if something similar could befall Trump. But it is unlikely because it is not as if the President’s glaring inadequacies have not been laid out time and again in front of the American people. Trump is just infinitely more thick-skinned than Petersen.
No way he would be shamed into quitting. In fact, as could be expected, Trump called Kennedy after the grilling, as reported by Politico.
“The president and I get along fine, and he has told me, he said, ‘Kennedy, when some of my guys send somebody over who’s not qualified, you do your job,'” Kennedy recalled.
No more than what we expect of the American president, is it?