Joe Biden has chosen his longtime adviser Ron Klain to reprise his role as his chief of staff, installing an aide with decades of experience across Democratic presidential administrations in the top role in his White House.
Klain served as chief of staff for Biden during Barack Obama´s first term, was chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore in the mid-1990s and was a key adviser on the Biden campaign, guiding Biden´s debate preparations and coronavirus response.
President-elect Joe Biden said in a statement: ‘Ron has been invaluable to me over the many years that we have worked together, including as we rescued the American economy from one of the worst downturns in our history in 2009 and later overcame a daunting public health emergency in 2014.
‘His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again.’
Joe Biden has chosen his longtime adviser Ron Klain as his chief of staff. They are pictured together in 2014
Klain, who has known and worked with Biden since the Democrat´s 1987 presidential campaign, tweeted: ‘I’m honored by the President-elect’s confidence and will give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris WH.’
The choice of Klain underscores the effort the incoming Biden administration will place on the coronavirus response from day one.
Klain was the Ebola response coordinator during the 2014 outbreak and played a central role in drafting and implementing the Obama administration´s economic recovery plan in 2009.
It´s also likely to assuage some concerns among progressives who had been gearing up for a fight over one of the first and biggest staff picks Biden will make as he builds out his White House team.
Ron Klain is pictured with President Barack Obama discussing the death of an Ebola patient in 2014
President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden greet guests after placing a wreath at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial Wednesday
The chief of staff is typically a gatekeeper for the president, crafts political and legislative strategy and often serves as a liaison to Capitol Hill in legislative negotiations.
Progressives had expressed concerns that Biden would pick one of his other former chiefs of staff: Steve Richetti, who faces skepticism for his work as a lobbyist, or Bruce Reed, who is seen as too much of a moderate to embrace reforms pushed by the party’s base. But progressives see Klain as open to working with them on top priorities like climate change and health care.