Despite withdrawing his nomination, The Biden Administration doubled down on its support for David Chipman. In an official statement on Thursday, the President had nothing but praise for his former nominee to head the ATF.
“David Chipman spent 25 years in distinguished service to our country as an ATF agent,” President Biden said. “He’s a gun owner himself, and someone who has the backing of law enforcement groups. And, he’s spent most of last decade as a leading voice for commonsense gun violence prevention legislation that will save lives. He would have been an exemplary Director of the ATF and would have redoubled its efforts to crack down on illegal firearms traffickers and help keep our communities safe from gun violence.”
The statement came just hours after news broke of the withdrawal of David Chipman to head the agency tasked with enforcing the country’s federal gun laws. Chipman’s nomination was controversial from the very beginning due to his affiliation with prominent gun control organizations and his support for restrictive gun laws. His confirmation prospects were further diminished after The Reload uncovered multiple allegations of racism levied against Chipman during his time with the ATF.
The President did not address the allegations in his statement and blamed Congressional Republicans and the gun lobby for Chipman’s withdrawal instead.
“Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it,” the President said. “That’s why they’ve moved in lockstep to block David Chipman’s confirmation, and it’s why they side with gun manufacturers over the overwhelming majority of the American people in opposing commonsense measures like universal background checks.”
He also acknowledged that he expected difficulty filling the ATF director position and that he wouldn’t let Chipman’s withdrawal interfere with his efforts to pursue gun control.
“We knew this wouldn’t be easy – there’s only been one Senate-confirmed ATF Director in the Bureau’s history – but I have spent my entire career working to combat the scourge of gun violence, and I remain deeply committed to that work,” President Biden said.
In a press conference following the statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated many of the President’s thoughts on the matter.
“We knew it would be challenging,” Psaki said. “Obviously, he has exemplary credentials. He’s someone the President has a great deal of respect for.”
She also mentioned that the White House was interested in finding a different role for Chipman in the administration.
“We’re in active discussions with him about what role might be of interest to him in the federal government,” Psaki said.