The President-elect, Joe Biden, has chosen the first top member of his new administration. His long time advisor Ron Klain will be the new White House chief of staff. Klain was the former vice-president’s number one aide at the start of the Obama administration. He later became President Obama’s “Ebola tsar.”
Klain, 59, has been a vocal critic of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. He first started working alongside Biden in the 1980s.
In a statement announcing his pick, the president-elect praised Klain’s “deep, varied experience”.
“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,” said Biden. “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.”
Klain said: “It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve President-elect Biden in this role, and I am humbled by his confidence.”
Klain has a lot of experience in the government. He was former vice-president Al Gore’s chief of staff, and Senate Democratic leadership committee’s staff director. He has also been a part of several presidential campaigns, including Biden’s 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns. During the 2000 presidential elections recount, he served as the lead Democratic lawyer.
Between 2008 and 2011, he was the chief of staff for Biden when he was the vice-president. During that time, he also helped oversee the $787bn stimulus package that Barack Obama signed in response to the Great Recession.
Joe Biden, during his campaign, said that the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession it has caused would be his top priorities and that he would tackle the problem to help lead Americans out of the crises. Klain’s experience in a global health pandemic and a recession would certainly be of great benefit to Biden when facing these challenges.
The choice seems to be popular amongst both progressives and the Democratic establishment. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Massachusetts senator, said that Klain is a “superb choice for chief of staff. He understands the magnitude of the health and economic crisis and he has the experience to lead this next administration through it.” Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two of the four members of the progressive “squad” in the Democratic party, also offered their congratulations.
Waleed Shahid, the communications director for the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats, said Klain “understands the Democratic party has moved in a more progressive direction”.