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‘I Didn’t Pick That Guy’: Trump Called Sen. Kennedy To Blame WH Staff For Unqualified Judicial Nominee

Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) has revealed that President Donald Trump called him over the weekend to blame his White House staff for sending over an unqualified nominee for Senate confirmation after his grilling went viral.

In a viral video posted by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) with more than 8 million views, Kennedy grilled Matthew Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission and a judicial nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The president called me the day before yesterday and told me doesn’t interview these guys. He has a staff do it,”
the Louisiana Republican said Monday, according to Politico.

“He said, ‘Kennedy, when some of my guys send somebody over who’s not qualified, you do your job,’” the senator recalled in an interview Monday morning with WWL-TV. “And I said, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.’ And I intend to do that.”

In Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee exchange, Kennedy highlighted Petersen’s lack of courtroom experience with a series of yes-or-no questions. Kennedy told the station he didn’t know Petersen was inexperienced with litigation beforehand and said that’s why the Senate holds hearings.

Kennedy described Petersen as a “really smart” and “decent guy.” “But just because you’ve seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’ doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge,” he said. “And he has no litigation experience. And my job on the Judiciary Committee is to catch him. I would strongly suggest he not give up his day job.”

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