THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Ron Klain will be President-elect Joe Biden’s White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President. A larger batch of as many as 10 to 12 senior hires for Biden’s administration is expected to be announced within the next week. Those may include Steve Ricchetti, who served as chief of staff in Biden’s vice presidential office and was involved in his 2020 campaign, as well as Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who joined Biden’s campaign as a national co-chairman.
Biden praised Klain for his help over the years they have worked together and said Klain’s ability to work with people across the political spectrum will help bring the country together again. Klain thanked Biden for the “honor of a lifetime” and said on Twitter that he looks forward to leading a “talented and diverse team.”
Klain has been a senior adviser to numerous Democratic presidents, vice presidents, candidates and senators. In the 1980s, he served as top aide to Biden when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he subsequently ran Biden’s office when he was vice president. Klain also worked for Gore’s failed presidential bid, including his recount effort in Florida, serving as general counsel.
Klain, who drew praise for leading the response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, has been critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, Klain testified to a House of Representatives that the administration’s China travel ban was a “Band-Aid” that would not keep the virus out of the country. Later, he promoted Biden’s plan for a coordinated federal coronavirus response rather than state-by-state, patchwork efforts.
Biden Names Ron Klain as White House Chief of Staff – New York Times – 11/11/2020
Mr. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill, with advising President Barack Obama and in corporate board rooms, served as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and has been seen for months as the likeliest choice to manage his team in the White House. Known for steady nerves, he also has a fierce wit, which he has frequently unleashed on President Trump on Twitter.
Ronald Klain, Biden’s new chief of staff, raises eyebrows with 2014 tweet saying elections are ‘rigged’ – Fox News – 11/12/2020
Back in 2014, Vox published an article based on a finding from a Rasmussen poll with the headline, “68% of Americans think elections are rigged.” Vox shared the report on Twitter, which sparked a reaction from the Biden ally. “@voxdotcom That’s because they are,” Klain replied. The Tweet was still up as Thursday morning.
Biden to Tap ‘Ebola Czar’ Ron Klain for White House Chief of Staff – The Daily Beast – 11/11/2020
Though Klain is viewed as a centrist and a Washington insider, prominent progressives immediately hailed the move. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calling him a “superb choice for Chief of Staff” who “has earned trust all across the entire Democratic Party.” Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid, a top grassroots organizer, also acknowledged that Biden’s pick is familiar with the shifting trends within the party, writing that “Klain understands the Democratic Party has moved in a more progressive direction and that voters expect bold action.”
Biden Taps Ron Klain To Be His Chief Of Staff. Klain Downplayed Pandemic At Times Early On. – The Daily Wire – 11/11/2020
Klain has been extremely critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from Trump saying nice things about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s handling of the pandemic to not acting faster to ban travel from China. However, Klain himself praised China for being “transparent” and “candid” over their handling of the pandemic. Klain also said that he opposed cutting off travel from China in late January, calling it “premature.