In what may be the biggest void yet in President Joe Biden’s two years in office, Chief of Staff Ron Klain is preparing the step down from the post he’s occupied since his boss’ inauguration.
Multiple media reports confirm the longtime Biden confidant will move aside shortly after the upcoming State of the Union address on Feb. 7, though a specific date has not been set.
The New York Times declared that Klain’s imminent departure will be “the most significant changing of the guard since Mr. Biden took office two years ago.” The outlet said that Klain has been talking to colleagues about his pending move since at least the November midterms.
The search for a replacement has reportedly already started. Serving as chief of staff is a notoriously rigorous duty, and Klain held the position longer than any first office-holder for a Democratic president.
The Washington Post reiterated that a final day has not been selected and that Klain “will assist in the transition to his successor.”
Timing of Ron Klain's reported White House departure is 'curious' amid Biden classified docs scandal: Kudlow https://t.co/MAFRFElLxy
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Political observers credit the chief of staff with shepherding through several deals negotiated with Congress over the previous two years. The White House enjoyed only slim majorities in both chambers until Republicans recently took control of the House after the midterms.
Specifically, Klain worked with Biden’s infrastructure package, his efforts on promoting semiconductor chip manufacturing, confirming a Supreme Court Justice, and the final passage of December’s massive omnibus spending package.
Also significantly, Klain assisted in piecing together support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia. Democrats also performed far better than expected in the November midterm elections.
Administration critics, however, will note that Klain’s tenure was punctuated by serving a quite unpopular president.
Inflation ravaged the economy, and the southern border suffered an unprecedented crisis as millions of illegal migrants poured into the U.S. virtually unchecked. Foreign policy under his watch was a decidedly mixed bag, especially when the messy Afghanistan withdrawal is factored in.
Candidates to replace Klain include senior adviser Anita Dunn, presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti, and Biden’s first coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients. Depending on Biden’s 2024 decision, they may well be taking a challenging and strenuous role for a lame-duck president.