WILMINGTON, Del. –President-elect Joe Biden will name Ron Klain, a veteran Democrat and decades-long confidante, as his White House chief of staff as early as Thursday morning, according to several people familiar with Biden’s decision.
Klain, a lawyer with extensive experience on Capitol Hill advising President Barack Obama and on corporate boards, has been viewed for months as the most likely choice to manage Biden’s team in the White House. Known for his stable nerves, he also has a fierce spirit, which he frequently unleashed on President Donald Trump on Twitter.
He has been particularly critical of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having served as “Ebola czar” under Obama during an outbreak of the deadly disease during his second term. A video of Klain speaking to Trump about the pandemic was widely seen during the campaign.
The choice of Klain, who first went to work for Biden in 1989 when Biden was a senator from Delaware and Klain was a recent Harvard Law School graduate, indicates that Biden intends to rely on a inner circle of Washington insiders who have been by his side. side for years.
Advisers said the president-elect will announce more senior White House officials in the coming days, even as Trump refuses to accept the election results, tweeting “WE WILL WIN!” Wednesday evening.
Biden likely won’t reveal his Cabinet choices until Thanksgiving, several people close to the transition have said.
As a political tactician, Klain is familiar with the levers of power in the executive and legislative branches of government. But he will quickly come under pressure to assemble a White House staff that extends beyond the moderate members of the Democratic establishment with whom Biden surrounded himself for four decades in politics.
Even before Biden’s announcement, the party’s liberals had already started demanding that progressives be given a meaningful voice in the West Wing. And the president-elect will also be in a hurry to fulfill his election promise to make his administration “look like the country” by engaging people of color, LGBTQ Americans and other minorities to serve as White House staff.