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US Election 2020

Who is Biden’s new White House chief of staff Ron Klain?

Joe Biden has won the presidency and will officially take over in January, but preparations are already well under way to choose the Democrat's core team.

Who is Biden’s new White House chief of staff Ron Klain?
Larry DowningReuters

"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 in a statement.

So who is Ron Klain, soon to be one of the most important staffers in the White House and what will his role be?

What does a White House chief of staff do?

The chief of staff job is one of the most influential in US government, given that the role involves leading the White House office staff and daily contact with the president.

The office of the chief of staff is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the president. Ron's office will be coordinating and communicating with all departments and agencies of the Joe Biden Administration.

Who is Ron Klain?

Ron Klain is a Harvard graduate, political consultant, civil servant and attorney from Indianapolis, Indiana. Klain was one of Biden’s top aides in the '80s and '90s on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Klain has served as chief of staff twice before, once to vice president Al Gore (1995–1999) and once under Obama’s presidency to VP Joe Biden (2009–2011). He served as Biden’s senior advisor on his presidential campaign this year.

Klain in his previous post as chief of staff to Biden during Obama’s first term, helped shepherd the 2009 Recovery Act, and then in 2014 he was appointed the Obama administration's Ebola Response Coordinator.

"His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again," Biden added in his statement Wednesday.

Is anyone else named in Biden's cabinet?

Ron Klain is the first member of Biden’s cabinet for 2021 to be named apart from his vice president elect Kamala Harris, of course. Biden’s transition team led by former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, has been working on a list of candidates.

The cabinet consists of the vice president and the heads of 15 executive departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs.

Several key positions also have cabinet-level rank: White House chief of staff, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Office of Management & Budget director, United States Trade Representative ambassador, Council of Economic Advisers chairman and Small Business Administration administrator.

Who were Donald Trump's chiefs of staff?

The sitting duck president Donald Trump’s current chief of staff is Mark Meadows, who was diagnosed with covid-19 almost a week ago. Before him, Trump had appointed three others to the job. First Reince Priebus, who was replaced by John Kelly and then Mick Mulvaney.

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