‘This Was a Failure’: Biden’s A.T.F. Pick Says White House Left Him Open to Attack

‘This Was a Failure’: Biden’s A.T.F. Pick Says White House Left Him Open to Attack

David Chipman’s failed confirmation is another example of the White House’s struggle to fulfill big promises to progressives on issues like voting rights, immigration and guns.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times David Chipman’s confirmation odyssey began with a short congratulatory buzz from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in April and ended, he said, with a long, rueful call from the presidential adviser Steve Ricchetti admitting the White House had fallen “short.” Mr. Chipman, a brash gun control activist whose nomination to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives imploded this month , said he had no other contact with the White House, which often left him feeling alone, on “an island,” when pro-gun groups attacked him. Instead, the West Wing strategy focused on selling Mr. Chipman to Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the centrist Democrat and perpetual kingmaker in an evenly divided Senate, only to lose the support of Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, which left Democrats at least one vote short of the 50 needed for confirmation. “Either this was impossible to win, or the strategy failed,” Mr. Chipman told The New York Times in his first public comments since President Biden withdrew the nomination, conceding he could not get the votes. “This was a failure.” Mr. Chipman’s defeat represented a major victory for the gun lobby and a huge loss for gun control groups, who saw appointment of a strong director for the bureau as the most important move Mr. […]

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