President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has purged thousands of tweets from his Twitter profile, while still permitting communications on Facebook, raising flags over his prior hearing response that he made his account private due to “violent threats” that were forwarded to the Department of Justice.
In writing to Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, David Chipman said he “decided to set my Twitter account to private because of violent threats I had received in the past and anticipated receiving once my nomination was made public. I notified officials at the Department of Justice that I intended to make my account private.”
In addition, it appears Chipman has deleted the vast majority of his tweets. Whereas there were 1,815 tweets in October 2016, there are now a mere 115 as of Wednesday. It is unclear why his Facebook posts remain public and why he can be freely messaged if Chipman is legitimately worried about being threatened through social media. Surely, those threatening the ATF nominee would be smart enough to use other platforms. The contradiction was flagged by American Accountability Foundation.
Sen. Cotton told The Federalist Chipman’s behavior is suspicious and that he seems to be trying to conceal past information.
“David Chipman is a gun-grabbing lobbyist who is woefully unfit to lead the ATF, which is why he is trying to hide his record from the Senate,” Cotton said. “He refused to answer the Senate’s standard questions about his record as a lobbyist, and has hidden his public statements and tweets because his abysmal record leaves no doubt that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a federal agency.”
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told The Federalist Chipman’s nomination “is an affront to Americans who value freedom.”
“It’s deeply concerning that Chipman — the manifestation of Biden’s promise to come for our guns — would hide his past tweets,” Cruz said. “It adds to the numerous red flags about his record, his candor, and the culture of lack of transparency he would bring to the ATF.”
It seems Chipman, a lobbyist at an anti-gun group, took cues from nominees past. Biden’s pick to be head of the White House Management and Budget Office, Neera Tanden, did not make it through confirmation after getting caught deleting hundreds of tweets pedaling in conspiracies. Vanita Gupta, nominated to head up the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, lamented her “harsh rhetoric” on Twitter before squeaking through the Senate, 51 to 49.
In one tweet from Oct 20, 2016, Chipman retweeted a post that reads “‘Booed by a room full of priests’: Trump bombs at the #AlSmithDinner and the Internet goes nuts.” In another from the same day, he agreed Trump displays “full-blown racism.”
Spokeswoman Amy Hunter from the National Rifle Association told The Federalist “it’s clear he lacks the necessary integrity and temperament to lead the agency.”