Joe Biden to appoint Ron Klain as chief of staff

Klain served as Chief of Staff for two vice presidents: Joe Biden and Al Gore, before being appointed as Ebola Response Coordinator for Obama administrations.

US Vice President Joe Biden (R) is joined by Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain (L) in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, US November 13, 2014.  (photo credit: REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING/FILE PICTURE)
US Vice President Joe Biden (R) is joined by Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain (L) in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, US November 13, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING/FILE PICTURE)
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Ron Klain to serve as chief of staff, his transition team announced Wednesday.
Klain is one of Biden’s closest confidants. He first worked for him in 1989 when Biden was a senator. He served as his chief of staff from 2009-2011 when Biden was vice president and was chief of staff for vice president Al Gore in 1995. He was the Ebola response coordinator in the Obama administration.
“Ron Klain’s 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 tweeted.
“Klain will oversee the Executive Office of the President and serve as a senior advisor,” the transition team said in a press release. “In addition to supporting the president-elect, Klain will work to build a diverse, experienced and talented team to help President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris meet the urgent challenges facing the country.”
Klain, who is Jewish, was raised in Indianapolis. He attended Harvard Law School and was a law clerk for Supreme Court justice Byron White.
In 1994, he was appointed chief of staff and counselor to attorney-general Janet Reno. He then became Gore’s chief of staff and was general counsel for Gore’s recount committee following the 2000 presidential election. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount.
“It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve President-elect Biden in this role, and I am humbled by his confidence,” Klain said. “I look forward to helping him and the vice president-elect assemble a talented and diverse team to work in the White House, as we tackle their ambitious agenda for change and seek to heal the divides in our country.”
“Jewish Ron Klain has been Joe Biden’s political alter ego for many of the last 40 years, regardless of his position or Biden’s interaction with Jews and Israel,” Democratic Party strategist Steve Rabinowitz said, adding: “Along the way, Klain has proven himself as friendly to our community and to Israel as we are with his old/new boss.”
Earlier this year, Klain appeared in a Biden ad criticizing President Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19.
“Back in 2015, when I finished serving as the White House Ebola response coordinator, I urged president Obama and vice president Biden to set up a permanent White House pandemic prevention response office, so we’d be ready for the next one,” he said in the video. “They did, and that office was doing a great job, but in 2018, Donald Trump abolished that office.”

Reuters contributed to this story.