By Nadia Babar and minahil rafay
The Biden Administration Series is a series of short articles doing profiles on the politicians Biden is appointing to his Cabinet. Each article will discuss the person’s political history and the potential implications their addition to the administration could have on the public.
Image from AP News
- Party: Democratic
- Education: Georgetown University (BA), Harvard University (JD)
- Chief of Staff to the Vice President (under Al Gore, 1995-1999)
- Chief of Staff to the Vice President (under Joe Biden, 2009-2011)
- White House Ebola Response Coordinator (2014-2015)
The position of White House Chief of Staff is a powerful one, known to be influential and powerful, making whoever fills its position an important choice. Joe Biden choosing Ron Klain for this position is an intuitive, sensible choice. Klain has served as Biden’s Chief of Staff before, when Biden was Vice President under Barack Obama, and even before that as Chief of Staff to then-VP Al Gore in the 90’s. With a long career in politics, Klain and Biden go way back. So what does this mean for the public?
Considering the reputation of lifelong politicians, Klain seems a more upstanding citizen than most. His work relationship with Biden traces all the way back to the 80’s, when Biden was still a Senator. During his time as Chief of Staff to then-VP Biden, Klain assisted in overseeing the Great Recession Stimulus, a Recovery Act of almost $800 billion. This was a crucial time at the beginning of the Obama administration as the country was attempting to come out of the 2008 recession. Klain and Biden’s longstanding relationship indicates trust in each other, which is more than one can say for Trump and any of his staff members. While interestingly, Biden appears to be consistently appointing members to his Cabinet that hail from the Obama administration, it makes a welcome change from
Furthermore, Klain has a history of overseeing endeavours that actually serve to help the American people. He has worked on either the selection or confirmation of 8 different Supreme Court Justices, meaning that should Biden get the chance to appoint a new justice during his tenure, Klain will be more than capable of aiding in the decision. He was instrumental in the decision to appoint the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg to her justice position in 1993.
A striking trait about Klain is his willingness to attempt to work together with his colleagues to achieve his goals. This stems from his tenure in Congress, where he has honed his ability to get his point across in a way that doesn’t antagonize those he’s speaking to. In a country where Republicans and Democrats are constantly at each other’s throats, this is an extremely important caveat. Much – if not most – of the time, the two political parties waste time trying to one-up each other at the cost of getting anything done. A person on Biden’s staff who is experienced in negotiation from both ends of the Democratic party is a step in the right direction. According to Ro Khanna, Vice Chair of the progressive caucus: “[Klain] has reached out many times to progressives, come to the Hill, indicating a willingness to work with us.”
Klain has been outspoken about how the Trump administration handled COVID-19 horribly, hinting at his and Biden’s completely different approach to the pandemic. Considering his history as Obama’s ‘Ebola tsar’, it’s safe to say that Klain is far more prepared to deal with the pandemic than the Trump administration has been. Despite being criticised at the time he was appointed to combat the Ebola epidemic, owing to his lack of expertise in public health, Klain proved himself capable by effectively preluding the virus from spreading overseas to the US. It’s clear that he knows what he’s doing and appears to be the right person for the job of Chief of Staff. We look forward to seeing how his expertise will help run the country in the years to come.