Donald Trump just abruptly canceled his nomination of Chuck Canterbury for the position of director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
After nearly a year of deliberation, Trump opted to pull the plug on the controversial nomination after Senate Republicans signaled that Canterbury was ultimately unlikely to be approved.
Canterbury currently serves as national president of the Fraternal Order of Police. Trump nominated him to take over the ATF last summer, but his nomination was stalled by the Senate Judiciary Committee after a disastrous hearing in July.
Trump renominated the Canterbury to lead the embattled agency in February, only to encounter further pushback from Senate leaders.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — typically a major proponent of Trump’s decisions — said last fall that confirming Canterbury was “going to be very problematic.”
Canterbury drew criticism from Senate Republicans due to his reluctance to give them a straight answer about his opinions on gun rights in the July hearing — a central issue for most Republicans.
He said at the time that he could not diverge from the position officially held by the FOP. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), and John Kennedy (R-LA) sounded the alarm, with Kennedy accusing Canterbury of being “evasive.”
Lee was even harsher, declaring that “If you’re not familiar with the process running the ATF, then you are not qualified,” after Canterbury said he would defer to DOJ and ATF experts for guidance on the issue.