WASHINGTON — Outgoing White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein repeatedly broke down in tears as he handed over the reins to his successor, Jeff Zientes, on Wednesday — even touting President Biden as a parenting role model and Vice President Kamala Harris. praised. Great office mate
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” muttered Klein, 61, as he began his remarks at the East Room transfer ceremony, forcing his 80-year-old boss to rub his shoulder. When he regained his composure.
In moments when he wasn’t crying, Klein seemed to confirm that Biden is running for re-election in 2024 and acknowledge the PR woes for Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been plagued by bad press. faced when activists fled what has been described as a “toxic” vice president. Office.
“It’s an honor to have it. [Harris’] Next-door neighbors in the West Wing those two years,” Klein said in a dry-eyed moment.
“I wish every American vice president knew Harris like I do. I’d say she’s been the best vice president in history, but, yeah, you know,” Klein joked of the fact. Hoy said Biden was also vice president.
Klein, a wealthy lawyer and former lobbyist, survived the toughest job for two years — and the emotional toll seems to show.
“Betting against Joe Biden and this team is never a good bet — never, never a good bet,” Klein said through tears at his farewell party.
Klein listed the various pieces of legislation and executive action, saying it wasn’t bad “for a president and a team” that is dead in the winter of 2019 and dead again in the winter of 2020. And again was written for the dead. Winter 2021 and again in the first week of November 2022 for those who died.
The outgoing chief of staff’s praise for his boss seemed to know no bounds.
At one point, Klein said, “I just want to say one thing today: I learned everything about being a good father from Joe Biden. He’s the best dad I know and the best role model I know and Along the way, he has also taught me a thing or two about politics and policy.
“Dr. Biden, you welcomed me into the Biden family four decades ago, and there is no greater honor than to be a ‘growing sentimentalist,'” he whispered.
Biden’s upbringing has come under fire from critics in part because he often interacted with his son Hunter’s overseas business associates — while Hunter says he would hand him “half” of his income. Is. A diary formerly belonging to first daughter Ashley Biden, who, like Hunter, abused cocaine, described an inappropriate childhood with her father.
Klein tearfully told his audience that his favorite White House memento was a “plain and simple rock” that “symbolizes to me that this team is strong.”
In a comment that appeared to confirm Biden’s plans to seek re-election — despite the fact that he would be 86 years old if he served a second term — Klein told Biden, “I want to be with you. look forward to when you run for president in 2024, paying tribute to him as a “”smart, passionate, determined and fearless president” who will “save our democracy and the soul of this nation. were committed to.”
“We passed the biggest economic plan — the most important — since FDR while managing the biggest land war in Europe since Truman. We passed the biggest infrastructure bill since Ike, since JFK. Passed more justices than any first-year president and passed the second largest health care bill after LBJ, the most important gun control bill since Bill Clinton was president, and the most passed by any country. The big climate bill. Time.” Klein said. He faced the smallest majorities in Congress of any new Democratic president in 100 years while managing the worst public health crisis of any president since Woodrow Wilson.
Father-of-three Klein expressed emotion at other points in parts of his speech that are more expected.
“To my family and my children, whose support and patience and love and understanding have kept me going through these two years – for the engagements I’ve missed, the birthdays I’ve missed and when I’ve had to do different things. Wasn’t there to do, thank you. And I love you guys and for the next two years, it’s my turn to walk the dog every day,” Klein said.
Klein, who previously worked for Biden when he was a senator and vice president, got a much stronger message than Reince Priebus, former President Donald Trump’s first chief of staff, whose sudden firing Trump announced. Did it on Twitter six months later.
Incoming chief of staff Jeff Ziants, 56, is a former Obama White House budget director and previously served as Biden’s White House coronavirus coordinator and before that served as Facebook’s chief of staff from 2018 to 2020. was included in the Board of Directors.
According to disclosure forms, Zientes is believed to be Biden’s wealthiest supporter, with a personal fortune between $89.3 million and $442.8 million. His wealth comes in part from health care companies accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. A profile In the progressive American Prospect magazine last year.
Zients is also co-owner of the popular Call Your Mother bagel chain in DC.
“Jeff has promised to buy everyone in the White House a free bagel every single day. So I’ll soon forget,” Klein said in a possible joke.
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