The White House announced Thursday it is withdrawing David Chipmin as its nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Chipman is a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords. He won praise for his work pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, overhauling the background check system and moves to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.
However, Chipman drew opposition from moderate Republicans such as Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, as well as independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. Some Democrats even said privately they would not vote for him. As a result, Chipman’s nomination had stalled for months.
“[Chipman] 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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “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.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed the once-nominee at her daily briefing.
“Obviously, he has exemplary credentials. He’s someone the president has a great deal of respect for,” Psaki said. “And we’re in active discussions with him about what role might be of interest to him in the federal government.”
The nominee withdrawal comes a day after the White House announced it asked 18 appointees named to U.S. military academy boards by Donald Trump in the last months of his term to resign. Among those 18: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (Air Force Academy), press secretary Sean Spicer (Naval Academy), national security adviser H.R. McMaster (Military Academy) and Office of Management and Budget director Russell Vought (Naval Academy).
“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on these boards,” Psaki said. “But the president’s qualification requirements are not your party registration. They are whether you’re qualified to serve and whether you are aligned with the values of this administration.”
While it’s unclear who of the 18 followed orders to resign, several of the 18 pushed back on social media.
Conway jabbed at Biden in a tweet, saying, “I’m not resigning but you should.”
Meanwhile, Spicer criticized Biden for trying to terminate Trump appointees instead of “focusing on the stranded Americans left in #Afghanistan.”