Ron Klain, a longtime Biden aide, who first worked for the Democrats in 1989, was appointed as the White House Chief of Staff by Biden's transition team on Wednesday. Klain, a top Democrat, who led the fight against the Ebola virus, is also the first White House official Biden has announced as part of his administrative team since winning the US Presidential election last week.
Klain has been one of the strongest critics of President Donald Trump for the way he handled the coronavirus pandemic. His appointment was somewhat expected as Biden has time and again stressed on the need of handling the health crisis with more seriousness. As a key member of the new administration, Klain will help Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris in forming a team of advisers for his presidency.
Klain's association with the President-elect goes back to the late 1980s when Biden was a senator from Delaware. Klain was also Biden's chief of staff when he was the Vice President and had helped lead the Barrack Obama administration's response to the Ebola outbreak. In fact, Klain is also said to have taken an interest in government reaction following the coronavirus outbreak.
Klain's appointment didn't surprise many as his name was being considered for the position given his experience in dealing with both a public health crisis and an economic recession. In a statement released on Wednesday, Biden praised Klain's performance in the Obama era. "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," Biden said.
Building His Team
Klain too feels honored being given the coveted position. However, despite being a longtime aide, Klain till sometime back shared a bittersweet relationship with Biden. In fact, there was some dissent among Biden loyalists when Klain decided to help Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016 while Biden was still contemplating running.
However, the air was soon cleared after Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti arranged a lunch between the two. Since then Klain has been a Biden favorite. In August, Klain took leave from his political consulting firm to be an unpaid senior adviser to Biden's campaign.
Klain's appointment marks the beginning of the announcement of the long list of White House advisers Biden is likely to make later this week. However, Biden has said he won't name cabinet nominations until after Thanksgiving and is hoping to do so by early December.