This summer, the Biden administration has fallen apart — and not only because of Afghanistan.
In late May, Biden picked David Chipman to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). He seemed confident that the Democrat-controlled Senate would approve his controversial choice.
Quietly this afternoon, Biden was forced to withdraw his nomination for Chipman.
In 2006, Congress started requiring the Senate to approve the president’s nominations for ATF head. Earlier that year, ATF Director Carl Truscott had become mired in a scandal after allegedly misusing public funds — lots and lots of public funds. He had first been appointed to the position by John Ashcroft, the attorney general under former President George W. Bush.
In the Senate, Chipman would have needed 50 votes in order to receive a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. In May, White House officials told The New York Times that Chipman would likely receive between 50 and 52 votes.
Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, two swing voters, told party leaders about their intentions to vote for Chipman, the Times reported. Senators Susan Collins and Patrick Toomey, two Republicans, remained undecided. Sen. Angus King, an independent caucusing with the Democrats, also remained on the fence.
However, Chipman’s prospects started to dim during his confirmation hearings in May, when he embarrassed himself in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He refused to offer a definition of the term “assault weapon.” He dodged questions about his cheerleading for progressive legislation, since he characterized himself as more an executive than a lawyer or lawmaker. At one point, he thanked Sen. Ted Cruz for offering him a Dr. Pepper, presumably in a vain attempt to diffuse the tension.
Little Deadly Pill Killing Thousands [sponsored]
After that, Manchin and King said that they wouldn’t vote for Chipman. Biden’s pick had support from only 48 of the 50 Senate Democrats — at most.
Chipman has become Biden’s second nomination to fail in the Democrat Senate.
In March, he picked Neera Tanden to run the budget office, but she withdrew her name after the uproar over her caustic tweets about Sen. Bernie Sanders. Tanden now works for Biden as a policy advisor.
Whatever becomes of Chipman, his rise and fall have encompassed Biden’s disastrous summer.
The Horn editorial team