President Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain is expected to step down in the coming weeks and be replaced by former White House COVID-19 Czar Jeff Zients.
Klain has been a democratic fixture in Washington circles for decades swinging back and forth from inside the government to lobbying and the private sector for decades per Open Secrets.
Klain has had a 30 year relationship with Joe Biden since serving on the Judiciary Committee. He previously served as Chief of Staff to Al Gore in the 1990s, and to Vice President Joe Biden from 2009 to 2011. He also served as the White House Ebola Czar during the Obama administration, an advisor to Biden’s 2020 campaign and served on Biden’s presidential-elect transition team. Klain is expected to leave after Biden’s State of the Union on February 7.
The president is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2024 campaign sometime after he gives his State of the Union address. At that point, Klain is expected to work on the Biden’s 2024 campaign from outside the White House.
Zients will be tasked with managing the White House and the expected intense response to multiple investigations as the Republican-led House gears up for lengthy hearings about Biden family’s business connections and overseas investments, the origins of COVID-19, U.S. immigration policy, and the most recent revelations of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center office in Washington, D.C. and Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware residence.
Zients served as a co-chairman of the Biden transition team before becoming the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. When he stepped down last spring, Biden described him as “man of service and an expert manager.” Zients served as Director of the National Economic Council during the Obama administration and was also acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. Zients came back to the White House right before the 2022 mid-terms.
Other candidates under consideration to replace Klain included:
White House counselor Steve Richetti;
Former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell;
White House senior adviser Anita Dunn, who is marred to Bob Baeur, Biden’s personal attorney;
Biden’s Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice;
and UNICEF Executive Director Cathy Russell, who is the former Chief of Staff to Jill Biden when Biden was vice-president. Her brother-in-law is Mike Donilon, who serves on Biden’s political and legislative team. Her husband, now, with BlackRock, had served as Obama’s National Security Advisor.
The other pertinent members of Biden’s political and legislative team—Ricchetti, Dunn, Donilon, Bruce Reed, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Louisa Terrell— are expected to remain.
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