White House Gives Up on 2 Controversial Nominations

Talley, Mateer will not be moving forward
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2017 4:59 AM CST
Updated Dec 14, 2017 6:11 AM CST
Jeff Mateer enters the Eldon B. Mahon US Courthouse in Fort Worth, Texas, on Aug. 12, 2016.   (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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(Newser) – One is a former ghost hunter who has never tried a case. The other described transgender children as "Satan's spawn." Neither man is going to become a federal judge. A White House official tells Politico that the administration will not be moving forward with the nominations of Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer, two of President Trump's most controversial nominees. The official said that Talley, criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for his failure to disclose that his wife is a senior White House lawyer, as well as for his lack of experience, has offered to withdraw his nomination for a district court post in Alabama.

A White House aide confirms to the Dallas Morning News that the nomination of Jeff Mateer, first assistant to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is also dead in the water. Mateer had been heavily criticized for calling transgender children evidence of "Satan's plan" and for calling the legalization of gay marriage "disgusting," among other comments. Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, called the nomination of the inexperienced Talley "embarrassing" last month. "I think the president of the United States is getting some very, very bad advice," he said. On Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN he had urged the White House to rethink both picks. (Read more federal judges stories.)

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