Hey, remember back when Donald Trump was campaigning to be president, he claimed he'd hire the best people for government jobs?
Not only has he not hired the best people, Trump hasn't even managed to hire mediocre people, if you ask me. There are tons of duds in his administration that were either ultimately fired, or rejected to begin with.
Especially when it comes to his choices for a lifetime appointment position as a federal judge. Three of his nominees for the vacant position were dismantled in their interviews, failing to answer basic legal questions. The most recent of Trump's nominees, Matthew Petersen, perhaps had the most embarrassing Q&A yet, something that he himself called "the two worst minutes on television."
You may have seen this cringeworthy display on social media already, but if you haven't, it's a doozy.
It was so embarrassing, Petersen withdrew himself from consideration for the job.
It's just further evidence that Trump's promise of being able to pick "top talent" was an empty one.
There were some people who argued that just because Petersen didn't have trial experience didn't preclude him from being a potentially viable federal judge with a lifetime appointment.
In a puzzling, but not surprising, turn of events Trump somehow tried to distance himself from his nomination pick, trying to say that the nominations weren't his idea and that "someone from his team" sent the past three candidates.
Sen. Kennedy says Trump told him he was right to ?? credentials of judicial nominee Petersen in exchange that went viral— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) December 18, 2017
“He said, ‘Kennedy when some of my guys send somebody over there who’s not qualified, you do your job.’ Kennedy tells WWL-TV
If Sen. Kennedy's retelling is accurate, Trump is really putting distance between himself and the people he's nominating for lifetime appointments:— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 18, 2017
“He said, ‘Kennedy, when some of my guys send somebody over who’s not qualified, you do your job." https://t.co/72vAdeMMTH
In his withdrawal letter, Petersen chalked up his decision to back out to simply having a bad "two minutes" that seemingly mattered more than his 20 years of service. But I mean, come on, it was a really bad two minutes.
Some people argued that Petersen was grilled too hard in his meeting.
The first two seem like reasonable expectations for a district court judge nominee. The third and fourth seem more like "Gotcha" given that many nominees have no criminal experience.— Ross Guberman (@legalwritingpro) December 17, 2017
Younger isn’t a doctrine you learn from practicing criminal law...it’s one that you learn in your law school federal courts class.— Dan Epps (@danepps) December 17, 2017
Good point. But expecting practicing lawyers in their 40s to remember that on the spot is, IMHO, unfair.— Ross Guberman (@legalwritingpro) December 17, 2017
True, although knowing it shows good things about the nominee—Law nerd who has good memory for doctrine. I agree not disqualifying but would hope it would at least ring a bell. I want judges to at least know what they don’t know— Dan Epps (@danepps) December 17, 2017
Others said that Trump's clearly incompetent nominees being shot down are a good indication that democracy is still alive in America.
In the last week, three much-criticized district court nominees -- Petersen, Talley, and Mateer -- have withdrawn from consideration. I know it's uncool to suggest there are still some checks and balances on the executive branch, but that seems worth noting.— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) December 18, 2017
For many, it was baffling that such unfit candidates were even interviewed in the first place.
It took embarrassingly unfit #TrumpJudges like Matthew Peterson, Jeff Mateer and Brett Talley to make Senate Republicans begin to push back on unqualified nominees. But the GOP-led Senate has been rubber-stamping them for months. @eqca believes #CourtsMatter— Valerie Ploumpis (@vploumpis) December 18, 2017
Based on reports from Sen. Kennedy (R-LA), Trump is just sending over whoever and letting the Senate sort out the dreck.— mieke eoyang (@MiekeEoyang) December 18, 2017
Bad for future Presidents to get the Senate in the habit of rejecting people. Great for the Legislative branch, tho. https://t.co/EGbPsEt0o6
And then there was the whole "best people" conversation and how it appears the president is backtracking his opinion on the nominees he sends over to the senate.
So Trump says he hires the “best people” then turns around and tells Sen. Kennedy that he was right that the guy HE appointed was worthless. Ok got it.— Renee (@KhunRenee) December 18, 2017
Congresswoman Eleanor Norton shared her shock at the poor quality of candidates being sent to the senate on Trump's behalf.
FLASH: this unqualified nominee would be on DC’s federal court. No chance he would've been nominated had POTUS given me senatorial courtesy to recommend nominees, as Obama did. Still time to work with us to get qualified and diverse candidates who’d make DC and the courts proud. https://t.co/BG1HzOKSOw— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) December 15, 2017
Turns out the Donald didn't really consult with anyone before he made his choices, either.
Others were just happy we dodged a big time bullet.
There have been a lot of Trump's picks who ultimately ended up becoming busts: Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, have all been endorsed by Trump only to either be fired or "resigned."