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Ron Klain: White House chief of staff expected to step down in weeks after State of the Union Address




CNN

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, the mighty force at the heart of Joe Bidenfirst two years in office, expected to step down within weeks of president State address of the Federationaccording to many people familiar with his plan.

Sources say Klain’s exact timeline has yet to be set and he is expected to remain in the West Wing for a period of time to assist with the transition period for his replacement. The State of the Union is scheduled for February 7.

Klain’s departure will come at a difficult time for Biden, with a special adviser investigate his handling of classified information after serving as vice president and with the administration and the president’s family face new scrutiny by the US House of Representatives controlled by the GOP. An official familiar with Klain’s plans said his decision to resign was unrelated to the ongoing investigation into classified documents found at Biden’s private office and Delaware residence. , with the decision made before Special counsel has been announced.

Klain has long announced his intention to leave at some point later midterm elections, noting publicly – and in more detail privately – the grueling and exhausting nature of the position. But Klain’s ingrained presence in almost every aspect of the West Wing, coupled with his decades-long relationship with Biden, has prompted some White House officials to urge him to continue in the role. this for a long time.

However, officials are still quietly weighing his potential replacements, with names including Steve Ricchetti, an adviser to the president and one of Biden’s closest advisers in years. ; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Labor Secretary Marty Walsh; Jeff Zients, a former Obama administration official who ran Biden’s Covid-19 response; and Anita Dunn, senior adviser to White House communications and messaging, among others.

Officials said Dunn has publicly said she doesn’t want to take on the role and has reiterated that opinion privately, though an acquaintance says Dunn has expressed interest in getting the job done. became the first female chief of staff.

The New York Times Be the first to report about Klain’s expected departure.

The veteran political executive’s tenure has been marked by a series of important legislative achievements for the White House, as well as his fondness for tweet your opinion on a variety of topics at all hours of the day. Klain emerged as a central figure in the West Wing and a trusted advisor to Biden on decisions big and small.

Klain’s much-anticipated decision marks one of the first high-profile departures from the administration characterized by low sales in its first two years.

Biden announced that Klain would hold the top office on November 14, 2020, a few days after the presidential election.

On Friday, Klain celebrates two years Biden’s Inauguration with an email congratulating the staff and cakes.

“Today – at the halfway point of President and Vice President – ​​we celebrate not only WHAT was achieved, but also HOW it was achieved: through teamwork, cooperation, respect. each other and a lot of effort. This team has done a lot of historic things, and done them in historic style, as part of the most diverse and talented White House staff ever,” Klain told me. White House aides in emails obtained by CNN.

Klain points to jobs and economic growth, pandemic stabilization, climate action, steps to combat racism and promote equity, as well as efforts to defend democracy in the United States and abroad as examples of their successes.

“I am amazed at what this group has done and how you have done it. So this afternoon I will treat everyone to a cake to celebrate our success and all your hard work,” he said in the email.

Klain worked with Biden in the early 1990s as chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee while the Delaware Democrat was chairman of the panel. Two years later, Klain led the team of President Bill Clinton, who led the confirmation of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

He later became Vice President Al Gore’s second term chief of staff, and while leaving in 1999 amid a feud between Gore and Clinton’s allies, he returned to the campaign. President of the Tennessee Democratic Party a year later and became general counsel for his recount effort before that. about what eventually became George W. Bush’s 537-vote victory in Florida in 2000, giving Republicans the White House.

Klain later worked as a lobbyist and political consultant, and was involved in John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. He reprized his role as vice president’s chief of staff early in the administration of President Barack Obama, working for Biden again.

He left the White House in 2011 to help lead an investment firm but returned in 2014, when Obama appointed him as his Ebola response coordinatora set of skills he used to oversee the administration’s Covid-19 response when Biden took office.

This story and title have been updated.

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