President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday named longtime adviser Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff in his first important appointment, as he builds his administration regardless of whether President Donald Trump accepts the election results.
Klain, 59, was Biden’s chief of staff when the 77-year-old was vice president under President Barack Obama and had been widely expected to be named chief of staff.
He also has experience battling a public health crisis, as he worked as Obama’s “Ebola Czar” in 2014. A fierce critic of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Klain is expected to be a key figure in Biden’s response to the health crisis.
“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,” Biden said in a statement.
As Biden moves forward with the transition, Trump has refused to concede or cooperate and his campaign has continued its legal efforts to overturn the results in key states.
Biden clinched victory last Saturday as he won a series of battleground states to claim the 270 electoral votes needed in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines who wins the presidency. Biden was also ahead in the popular vote by more than five million ballots with a few states still counting votes.
Trump is the first US president to lose a re-election bid since 1992.