There's A Reason Biden Abandoned Chipman

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

David Chipman wanted to be director of the ATF. He probably thought that with the makeup of Congress, he had a legitimate shot at being confirmed. Truthfully, he didn’t, but he believed he did.


Now, he’s upset.

Not only did he not get the job he longed for, he feels like the Biden administration basically abandoned him.

David Chipman, whose nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was ultimately withdrawn, told the New York Times that the lack of communication from the White House often made him feel alone and on “an island” amid attacks from pro-gun groups.

Driving the news: Chipman, a gun control advocate, was nominated by President Biden to head the agency in April. His nomination, however, faced widespread opposition from Senate Republicans, as well as Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

What he’s saying: “Either this was impossible to win, or the strategy failed,” Chipman said in his first public comments since his nomination was withdrawn earlier this month. This was a failure.”

  • Chipman, who mostly blamed the gun lobby for his failed nomination, told the Times that outside of a phone call with presidential adviser Steve Ricchetti, who admitted the administration fell “short,” he’s had no other contact with the White House.

Of course, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claims the administration did work to get Chipman confirmed. To be fair, I’m sure they did, they just did it in ways Chipman couldn’t see.

However, at some point, there really wasn’t much they could really do for the man, especially after allegations of racial bias surfaced. At that point, really, what could they do?

Chipman’s nomination wasn’t exactly sailing along smoothly before The Reload published those allegations, to be fair. There had also been accusations that he was involved in the deadly raid at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco and that he’d apparently left his service weapon in a bathroom.

On the latter accusation, many felt that an examination of his service record would exonerate Chipman, yet those records were never made available to Congress.

Once the racial bias allegations surfaced, the Biden administration didn’t have a whole lot of choice. Either the records would have to be released–something you’d imagine would have been done after the service weapon allegations–or abandon the nominee. Since someone clearly preferred the records remain sealed, the administration’s choices were limited.


They either kept up the push or devote their efforts somewhere they might actually accomplish something.

Abandoning Chipman, if that’s what happened, just makes a lot of sense. Far more sense than nominating someone like him in the first place, of course, but still.

Granted, Chipman isn’t blaming the administration directly. No, he blamed the nebulous and all-powerful “gun lobby” that spent a fraction of what his comrades spent on the last couple of elections, but hey, it’s not like he’ll let facts get in the way of a good argument, right?

In truth, though, I don’t think the Biden administration had a whole lot of options in the grand scheme of things.

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