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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has chosen a White House chief of staff, moving forward with an anticipated transition of power from President Donald Trump after mainstream media roundly declared Biden victor in the contested race.
What are the details?
The Washington Post reported that Biden has selected longtime Democratic adviser Ronald Klain to serve as White House chief of staff, noting that Klain previously worked “in the late 1980s as a top aide to Biden when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and ran Biden’s office when he first became vice president.”
Biden said in a statement:
“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. 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.”
According to the Associated Press, Klain “was the Ebola response coordinator during the 2014 outbreak and played a central role in drafting and implementing the Obama administration’s economic recovery plan in 2009.”
The New York Times pointed out that Klain, who was described as President Barack Obama’s “Ebola Czar,” has “been a sharp critic of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus.”
But Klain is also the former Biden staffer who admitted at the National Press Club last year that it was “just luck” that the H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak that occurred during the first Obama-Biden administration wasn’t a “mass casualty event.”
“Sixty million Americans got H1N1 in that period of time, and it’s just purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history,” Klain said, adding, “It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck.”
Klain acknowledged Wednesday that he had been tapped by Biden for the top White House role, writing, “I’ve seen so many kind wishes tonight on this website. Thank you – and I’m sorry I can’t reply to each of you. I’m honored by the President-elect’s confidence and will give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris WH.”
The race for the White House, however, remains contested, as the Trump campaign presses forward with legal battles in several states pointing to voting irregularities and allegations of voter fraud.