I’ve known Ron Klain since he was a third-year law student. He came to work for me on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I knew the moment he started that he was a once-in-a-generation talent with a fierce and brilliant intellect. Just as important, he has a really big heart.
I want to thank Ron and his wife Monica and their three children for their commitment to being a part of my team all these years.
During the last 36 years, Ron and I have been through some real battles together. And when you’re in the trenches with somebody for as long as I have been with Ron, you really get to know the person. You see what they’re made of.
When I was elected President, I knew that I wanted Ron to lead the White House staff. He was uniquely qualified given his prior public service. He knows how government works, how politics works, how Congress and the White House works. He is as tough, smart, determined, and persistent as anyone I have ever met. He assembled the most diverse and the most talented White House team in history and leaned on them to solve impossible challenges.
Working together, we have made incredible progress fighting COVID, reviving our economy, rebuilding our infrastructure, and winning the confirmation of almost 100 federal judges, including the first Black woman on the United States Supreme Court. We have taken big steps to tackle climate change, advance civil rights, and address student debt. We’ve been reasserting America’s place in the world, and maybe most important of all – restoring faith in our democracy.
This progress will be the legacy of this White House team, working under Ron’s leadership.
And while we have accomplished an extraordinary amount, the real mark of Ron’s success is that he is beloved by the team he leads here at the White House. They’re going to miss him just as much as I will.
That’s why it is important to fill Ron’s shoes with someone who understands what it means to lead a team, and who is as focused on getting things done.
I’ve seen Jeff Zients tackle some of the toughest issues in government.
When I was Vice President, I first got to know him at the beginning of the Obama-Biden Administration, working closely on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act implementation as Jeff was a leader at the Office of Management and Budget. He was later handed the daunting and complicated task of fixing healthcare.gov, which he did successfully, helping get millions of Americans quality, affordable health insurance. He led the National Economic Council, and shares my focus on strengthening our economy to work for everyone. He helped manage our Administration’s transition into office under incredibly trying circumstances. Thanks to Jeff, we had a historically diverse team in place on Day 1 ready to go to work. And he led our COVID response, a massive logistical undertaking of historic proportions.
When I ran for office, I promised to make government work for the American people. That’s what Jeff does. A big task ahead is now implementing the laws we’ve gotten passed efficiently and fairly.
I’m confident that Jeff will continue Ron’s example of smart, steady leadership, as we continue to work hard every day for the people we were sent here to serve.
I am grateful for his service and that of his family – his wife Mary and their children – for making this commitment with him.
Next week, the White House will host an official transition event to thank Ron for his tireless work and officially welcome Jeff back to the White House in this role.