Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley advised President Trump on Tuesday to reconsider two of his federal district court nominees, saying they have made troubling comments that could taint their confirmations.
He singled out Brett Talley, an Alabama district court nominee, and Jeff Mateer, a Texas district court nominee.
“I’ve advised the White House they ought to reconsider,” Mr. Grassley told CNN. “I would advise the White House not to proceed.”
Taylor Foy, a spokesperson for Mr. Grassley, told The Washington Times the senator has had concern about some of the statements the nominees have made, and he’s raised those concerns to the White House.
It marks the first major hiccups within the GOP for Mr. Trump’s judicial picks.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday she wasn’t sure whether Mr. Grassley had conveyed those concerns directly to the president.
Mr. Talley has faced criticism from Democratic and Republican senators for blogging in support of the Ku Klux Klan and withholding information about his wife’s position as chief of staff to White House counsel Don McGahn. Lawmakers said this presents a conflict of interest.
Mr. Mateer allegedly compared the Nazi regime to the treatment of Christians in the United States and said transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan,” sparking backlash from liberal organizations.
Mr. Talley was approved on a party-line vote in committee in November, but hasn’t received a floor vote. Mr. Mateer hasn’t had a conformation hearing yet.
“Revelations of Talley’s statements surfaced only after he was reported out of the Judiciary Committee. Mateer’s nomination paperwork has not yet been received by the committee, and no further action is scheduled,” Mr. Foy said.