The White House has confirmed the administration is dropping controversial judicial nominee Jeff Mateer after Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley became the first Republican senator to openly oppose the pick. Grassley, who is also the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged the administration to reconsider the nomination.
“I’ve advised the White House they ought to reconsider,” Grassley said as he left a Judiciary Committee hearing. “I would advise the White House not to proceed.” He later confirmed the nomination was dead on Wednesday.
LGBTQ+ rights activists have been pressuring President Trump to drop the nomination after a 2015 video surfaced with Mateer making transphobic comments. In the speech titled ”The Church of Homosexuality,” Mateen was discussing a Colorado lawsuit in which the parents of a transgender girl were suing her school for preventing her from being able to use the girl’s restroom.
"In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she's a girl who thinks she's a boy or a boy who thinks she's a girl, it's probably that, a boy who thinks she's a girl," Mateer said in the speech. "And the school said, 'Well, she's not using the girl's restroom.' And so she has now sued to have a right to go in. Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults, a first grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on."
Mateer is currently serving as first assistant to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Prior to serving under Paxton, he worked for a conservative group that promoted religious freedom. President Donald Trump had nominated Mateer for the Texas federal vacancy on September 7th after receiving a recommendation from Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Though Cornyn’s support wavered after hearing about the comments and the fact that Mateer did not disclose them during his evaluation, Cruz was on record saying the comments wouldn’t shake his support.
Mateen has also been on record complaining that states were banning conversion therapy while also claiming hat same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality and other forms of “disgusting” wedlock. He has also argued that it would be okay in certain circumstances for judges to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.