President Joe Biden has announced that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein will step down next week and be replaced by Jeff Zientz, the former Obama administration official who led Biden’s Covid-19 response operations.
Biden said there will be an “official transition” event at the White House next week, and that he would “thank Ron for his tireless work and officially welcome Jeff back to the White House in this role.”
Biden praised Klein in a statement Friday morning, saying that when he was elected president he “knew” he wanted to make him chief of staff, saying he was “tougher than anyone I’ve ever met.” And he’s smart, he’s decisive, he’s tenacious.”
“We are confident that Jeff will continue Ron’s example of smart and steady leadership,” Biden said of Zientz.
This announcement confirms previous reports by CNN and other news outlets.
In his resignation letter on Friday, Crane said it was “a considerable journey” serving for Biden, writing that he joined Biden’s then-senate staff 36 years ago, the day he returned from his honeymoon.
“Since then, I have left and returned to your staff several times, but my work for you has defined my life, both personally and professionally,” Klein wrote to Biden. and added, “I am full of gratitude.”
Crane has promised to complete an “orderly handover” to his successor if Biden chooses to run for re-election and will do “whatever we can to support your campaign.” bottom.
“The halfway point of your first term – two years of success and the next two years of important decisions – is the right time for this team to have new leadership,” Klein said. “I have served no less than eight of his past nine chiefs of staff and have given my all to this task. Now is the time for someone else to take it on.”
Crane praised Biden’s policy performance in his first two years as president, touting “the most important economic recovery bill since the FDR” and praising him for “managing the largest piece of land.” compared to some of the most prominent Democratic presidents of the last century. War in Europe since the Truman era. ”
“You did it all with the lowest number of legislative seats of any newly elected Democratic president in a century, in the midst of the worst public health crisis since the Wilson era,” Klein wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has maintained a very close relationship with Klein over the past two years, called his term “one of the most historic and productive first two years of a presidency in generations.” ‘ was praised as important to
Schumer, a New York Democrat, spoke by phone with Zientz before the decision was formally announced and said the two had a “close relationship with the same White House Chief of Staff I had with Ron.” He said he agreed to keep it.
“He is organized, focused, and cautious, and is the perfect person to lead the Biden administration and ensure that the American public sees and feels the benefits of these new laws,” Zients said in a statement. .
Mr. Biden, who is appointing Mr. Zientz to replace Mr. Crane, is looking to rely on consultants with more business experience than political backgrounds as he enters his third year as president.
The decision to nominate Mr. Bidenz came as a surprise to some within the company, given the differences in the management styles of Mr. Biden and Mr. Zientz early in the administration. But when Zientz took over what officials described as a “largely dysfunctional” effort by the Trump administration, Biden was impressed with his job as coronavirus response coordinator.
Zientz is expected to focus solely on managing the White House and implementing Biden’s legislative and policy agenda, while other senior advisers, namely Senior Advisor Anita Dunn and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon prepares for re-election campaign to lead Biden’s political campaign as Biden.
The balance of power is expected to resemble a split portfolio between then-White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, David Proof, who was in charge of political operations. Crane is also expected to continue to be involved outside the company and plans to hire additional political advisers.
White House officials praised Zeentz for having the ideal set of skills and relationship with Biden to lead the White House in a year focused on implementing key pieces of Biden’s legislative agenda. Officials pointed to Zientz’s experience as Biden’s Covid-19 response coordinator and his role as director of the National Economic Council and acting director of the Office of Management and Budget under Obama. Zients has also worked closely with other senior advisers to Biden.
Crane’s resignation marks a difficult time for Biden, special counsel investigating his handling of classified information after he became vice president, and Republican control of the administration and the president’s family. He faces fresh scrutiny by the House of Representatives.Klein’s decision to step down has nothing to do with an ongoing investigation into classified documents found in Mr. Biden’s personal office and Delaware residence, said people familiar with Mr. Klein’s plans. He said the decision was made before the special counsel was announced.
Klein has been considering leaving office since the November midterm elections, and people inside the White House are watching closely for clues to his intentions, according to people familiar with the matter. Klain has been known to email his staff around the clock and even check petrol prices in the middle of the night. Many of his colleagues thought that the pace of this work could not be sustained in the long run.
Crane himself describes the grueling and exhausting nature of the position in public and privately more detailed ways. But his deep-seated presence on nearly every facet of the West Wing, and decades-long relationship with Biden, made him integral to the first two years of his administration.
Klein’s resignation could portend other shifts within the West Wing, as executives either move on to the expected re-election campaign or decide to leave the administration after two years. A talent search process led by Zients is underway to identify candidates.
This story has been updated with additional reports.