Senate

Trump Jr. calls on Manchin, Tester to oppose Biden’s ATF nominee

Donald Trump Jr. speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas
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Donald Trump Jr. is calling on voters to urge moderate lawmakers such as Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) to oppose President Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

During an address at a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event in Dallas on Friday, former President Trump’s eldest son said that Biden’s ATF nominee, David Chipman, “worked actively for the anti-gun lobby.” 

Chipman, who served for 25 years as an ATF special agent, has attracted opposition from gun rights groups due to his previous work as a policy adviser for the gun control group Giffords. 

Donald Trump Jr. told audience members Friday that Chipman as head of the ATF would “infringe on your Second Amendment rights.” 

“I want all of you guys to call your senators … and make sure that this guy doesn’t get confirmed,” he said. 

“I want you to speak to your senators in, perhaps, purple states, where you have Democratic senators that claim to be for the Second Amendment,” he added, specifically citing Manchin and Tester, who have both vocally labeled themselves as supporters of gun rights. 

“Ask them, are they going to nominate someone that says they’re going to take your guns away, your AR-15?” he said, arguing that the senators “talk about being for the Second Amendment, their constituency is for the Second Amendment, but you can’t be on both sides of this one, guys.” 

“You’re going to have to make up your mind,” he added.

During his confirmation hearing in late May, Chipman said that while he plans to stick to enforcing the current ATF laws, he supports banning the AR-15 rifle, labeling it as a gun he “was issued on ATF’s swat team” that is “a particularly lethal weapon.”

While Manchin and Tester have not given firm commitments on how they plan to vote on Chipman’s nomination, Tester communications director Sarah Feldman said in a statement to Fox News this week, “As a proud gun owner, Sen. Tester believes ATF needs a strong leader to support the agency’s law enforcement mission.”

“Sen. Tester will continue to review David Chipman’s record and testimony to ensure he would support our brave law enforcement officers and respect Montanans’ Second Amendment rights,” Feldman added. 

Last month, Manchin told Politico that he was still “undecided” on his vote, acknowledging that “there’s a lot of controversy” surrounding Biden’s nominee. 

Chipman’s confirmation vote is likely to come down to Manchin, Tester and other moderates such as GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine). 

Gun groups have launched sweeping ad campaigns targeting the moderates, calling fueling opposition to Chipman’s nomination a top priority. 

Tags biden administration Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC Dallas David Chipman Donald Trump Fox News Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Tester Lisa Murkowski Politico Susan Collins

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