Joe Biden has named Ron Klain, a veteran advisor, as his White House Chief of Staff in the President-elect's first major appointment since Donald Trump was defeated in the US election.
Mr. Biden said Mr. Klain had been "invaluable" to him for many years, including when Barack Obama's former US Vice President was tasked with saving the economy after the 2007-08 financial crisis. The US President-elect said Mr Klain was also instrumental in steering the US response to the Ebola epidemic of the past decade.
"His deep, diverse experience and ability to work with people from across the political spectrum is exactly what I need from a White House chief of staff as we face this moment of crisis and bring our country back together," said Biden in an explanation.
Mr. Klain will play a central role in forming the team that will take office after Mr. Biden's inauguration on January 20th. Mr Biden has pledged to create the most diverse cabinet in US history. To do this, however, he must balance the demands of moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party.
The appointment of Mr. Klain was welcomed by Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Senator, who, along with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is one of the most influential progressive voices within the party.
"@RonaldKlain is an excellent choice for the chief of staff," Ms. Warren tweeted. “He understands the scale of the health and economic crisis and has the experience to lead this next government through this crisis. Ron has gained trust throughout the Democratic Party. "
This suggests that the discipline and rigor in policy coordination that Biden demanded as senator and vice president will also mark his presidency
Mr Biden was expected to select Mr Klain for the role of running the White House and managing access to the President. The post was often filled by political heavyweights like James Baker, who worked for Ronald Reagan and Leon Panetta for Bill Clinton.
The position had less sway in the Trump administration, as Mark Meadows, the current chief of staff, and his three confirmed predecessors (and one interim) struggled to lead an unpredictable president.
Mr. Klain has served in a variety of roles for Mr. Biden since 1986 when the former Delaware Senator served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was a top advisor to Mr. Biden during the 2020 campaign, as well as in 1988 and 2008 when Mr. Biden ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic President nomination.
From 2014 to 2015, Mr. Klain was not only Mr. Biden's Chief of Staff as Vice President, but also the Ebola Response Coordinator of the White House. He was also chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore.
Frank Jannuzi, a former top Asian advisor to Mr Biden, said the election signals that the president-elect will perform professional surgery.
"Biden has selected a trusted confidante who runs a tight ship," said Jannuzi, who heads the Asia-focused Mansfield Foundation. "This suggests that the discipline and rigor in policy coordination that Biden demanded as senator and vice-president will also mark his presidency."
While the Georgetown University and Harvard Law School graduate was widely seen as an obvious choice, Mr Klain only rose to the top of the shortlist after mending his relationship with Mr Biden. Mr Klain had previously supported Hillary Clinton's bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination before Mr Biden decided not to seek the White House.
Mr Biden said he would try to name some of his cabinet secretaries before Thanksgiving. Most Washington defense experts believe he will elect Michèle Flournoy, a former top Pentagon official, as first Secretary of Defense.
Antony Blinken, a senior foreign affairs adviser to Mr. Biden, is expected to be named Secretary of State or National Security Advisor, while many experts believe that Mr. Biden will select Jake Sullivan, a former close advisor to Ms. Clinton, for a top domestic policy job in the whites House.
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