The timing is impeccable. As the White House faces more scandals and growing legal issues, it looks like Joe Biden will be without his top advisor. The New York Times is reporting that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will soon be stepping down just before Republicans will begin investigating several cases of alleged corruption.
The Times writes, “Mr. Klain has been telling colleagues privately since the November midterm elections that after a grueling, nonstop stretch at Mr. Biden’s side going back to the 2020 campaign, he is ready to move on, according to senior administration officials, and a search for a replacement has been underway.
The officials, who discussed internal matters on condition of anonymity, would not say whether a successor has already been picked or when the decision would be announced, but indicated that it would come at some point after the president outlined his agenda for the coming year in his State of the Union address on Feb. 7. Mr. Klain likely would stay around for a transition period to help the next chief settle into the corner office that has been his command post for many crises and legislative battles.
The departure would also come at a time when the White House faces a widening array of political and legal threats from a newly appointed special counsel investigating the improper handling of classified documents and a flurry of other inquiries by the newly installed Republican majority in the House. The next chief of staff will be charged with managing the defense of Mr. Biden’s White House and any counterattack as the 2024 election approaches.
Among the possible choices to replace Mr. Klain mentioned by senior officials are Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh; former Gov. Jack A. Markell of Delaware, now serving as ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden; Steven J. Ricchetti, the counselor to the president; Jeffrey D. Zients, the administration’s former coronavirus response coordinator; Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser; and Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture.
CNN noted that, in the worlds of Joe Biden, this is a big effing deal, writing, “On his departure, Klain will be among the longest-serving first-term chiefs of staff for a Democratic president in recent memory, a fact that hasn’t been lost on people inside the White House.
It is difficult to overstate his intense involvement in every facet of major decisions made during Biden’s first two years as president. During the first half of the administration, deliberations big and small – and everything ranging from political to policy issues – would not only have Klain’s fingerprints but, most often, some level of his direct involvement. When lawmakers, political allies and policy advocates alike have been asked over the past two years who their direct contact was at the West Wing on any given issue, they have often been prone to respond with simply one word: ‘Ron.’
The veteran political operative’s tenure has been marked by a series of key legislative accomplishments for the White House, as well as his predilection for tweeting his opinions on a variety of topics at all hours of the day.”
Klain has been on Team Biden for a long time, first serving as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee while Biden acted as the head of the committee.
In November, Republicans included the White House Chief of Staff as part of a group of 42 members of the administration they intend to investigate now that they control the House of Representatives.
Reuters reported, “In Nov. 18 letters to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and other top administration officials, 19 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee said they need testimony on issues including border security, school board threats and claims of bias within the FBI and Justice Department.
‘We expect your unfettered cooperation in arranging for the Committee to receive testimony,’ the Republicans, led by incoming committee chairman Jim Jordan, wrote in a letter to Klain.
Similar letters went to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI director Christopher Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
The Judiciary and Oversight probes are expected to be among a raft of Republican investigations into Biden and his administration next year. The list of investigatory topics also includes China, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and Biden’s chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August 2021.”
It looks like Klain is getting out just in the nick of time.