On Wednesday, November 11, President-elect Biden named Ron Klain as White House Chief of Staff.
Klain is a longtime aide to President-elect Biden and played a leading role during the economic and public health crises during the Obama administration. Klain served as Chief of Staff to then-Vice President Biden from 2009 to 2011 and Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration. As the Biden administration will need to tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and economic challenges, Klain’s experience with implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 and leading the federal government’s response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic as the White House Ebola Response Coordinator will be particularly relevant. Klain previously served as Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee, Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when President-elect Biden was chairman, and Associate Counsel to President Clinton in charge of judicial selection.
Klain graduated from Georgetown University in 1983, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor, and Harvard Law School in 1987, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the 1987 and 1988 terms. Klain gained national attention as General Counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000. He has been a debate coach for several Democratic Presidential nominees including Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, as well as President Obama and President Clinton. Since August, Klain has served as an unpaid senior adviser to the Biden campaign and led Biden’s debate preparation. Klain worked as a litigator and lobbyist from 2001 to 2004 at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers. He later served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the investment company Revolution LLC.
He is particularly well prepared to serve as White House Chief of Staff as President-elect Biden deals with the continued US response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the current trajectory of the virus and the focus during the transition and in the early days of the Biden Administration on COVID response and vaccine distribution, it might be interesting to watch videos of Klain that the campaign put out in March and July.
Klain has an active Twitter account at @RonaldKlain. After the announcement last night, he tweeted, “I’ve seen so many kind wishes tonight on this website. Thank you – and I’m sorry I can’t reply to each of you. I’m honored by the President-elect’s confidence and will give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris WH.”
Fun Fact: Klain is played by Kevin Spacey in the HBO movie “Recount”.