On Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden named Ron Klain as his chief of staff, according to sources close to the transition.
Klain, is a longtime confidant of the president-elect and was his chief of staff during his years as vice president, had been considered a favorite for the role.
He was also one of Biden’s main advisers as the former vice president prepared to debate President Trump before the election.
“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,” Biden said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
The 59-year-old will take the post as the Biden administration makes responding to the coronavirus pandemic its first priority. Klain is experienced in that realm, as he previously served as the Obama administration’s Ebola czar in 2014 and 2015.
Klain considers the appointment an “honor of a lifetime.”
“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,” Klain said in a statement.
Klain initially started working for Biden in 1989 when Biden was a senator from Delaware. He also worked for the president-elect’s 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns before joining the Obama administration.
Klain was a major supporter of Biden’s presidential run, arguing the former vice president would be the best person to handle the coronavirus pandemic that has now infected more than 10.3 million and killed more than 240,000 people in the U.S.
He initially refused it, afraid of stealing Biden’s spotlight, he appeared in a video in mid-March, in which he promoted Biden’s coronavirus plan and slammed President Trump. The video came just as offices and schools were shutting down and strict limits were placed on businesses and public spaces.
“Think about what kind of president you want to have running your country,” he said. “As someone who has led a response like this and has worked with Joe Biden for more than 30 years, I can tell you he would know what to do when something happens again like this in the future. He wouldn’t mess it up like our current president has.”
Biden’s campaign has hinted that the president-elect will name other White House officials in the next few days after Biden was projected as the winner of the election on Saturday.
But Trump has refused to concede the race, tweeting “WE WILL WIN,” on Wednesday. The president’s campaign is contesting the vote in several battleground states through lawsuits, alleging widespread voter fraud without any substantiating evidence.
The Trump administration’s continued undermining of the election results is already presenting problems for the Biden transition team. Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, has not recognized Biden as the president-elect, keeping the team from beginning a number of aspects of the transition of power.
Murphy’s acknowledgement of Biden’s victory will give his team access to millions of federal funding to pay for salaries, consultants and travel as well as the ability to meet with current government officials and to be briefed on intelligence.