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Biden set to select Covid response leader as his next chief of staff

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US President Joe Biden is expected to name Jeff Zients, who ran the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as his next chief of staff, according to sources.

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r Biden’s current top aide Ron Klain is preparing to leave the job in the coming weeks.

Since serving as the COVID-19 response coordinator, Mr. Zient has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staff matters for the remainder of Mr. Biden’s first term.

The change at the highest level of senior staff comes as Mr. Biden passes his two-year mark in office and takes a defensive stance against a House Republican majority hungry to scrutinize his administration’s actions and his family.

The White House is embroiled in controversy over searches of classified documents at Mr Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and his former institute in Washington, with the latest batch of records being revealed on Saturday evening.

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Mr Biden, 80, is preparing to launch his re-election campaign in the coming weeks, bolstered by a string of legislative achievements in the first two years of his presidency, as Democrats swept both chambers of Capitol Hill. Controlled.

He faces a Republican presidential field that is not fully formed but for now is led by former President Donald Trump, whom Mr. Biden defeated in 2020.

The core field of advisers to the President will include, in addition to Mr. Zients, Steve Ricchetti, Counsel to the President on Politics and the Law, Senior Advisors Mike Donilon and Anita Dunn, Louisa Terrell, Director of Legislative Affairs, and Jane O’Malley Dillon and Bruce Reid. Who is the deputy chief of staff.

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Mr. Klein will remain in Mr. Biden’s political orbit, according to a person familiar with his plans — a role not unlike that played by Cedric Richmond, who was the president’s first director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and is now a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee.

The outgoing chief of staff was also known to be friendly with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But some moderate critics of Mr. Zients launched attacks against him even before the appointment was official, highlighting in particular his private-sector ties.

Jeff Hauser, founder and director of the Revolving Door Project, a progressive group that advocates for liberal appointments in government, said Mr. Giants’ selection as a top White House aide did not mesh with Mr. Biden’s “Scranton Joe” political image. Happened.

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Mr Hauser added: “Unfortunately, Zients is a veteran of private equity, greedy health care providers and Big Tech, setting up a fundamental question that could determine Biden’s political future: Will the Zients-led executive branch Will pursue people for unpopular misconduct. Like Jeffrey Zents?

“It would be against the Giants’ character to pursue corporate lawbreaking, but it’s also the only way Biden (Florida Governor Ron) can retain the position of populist against the likes of DeSantis and Trump.”

Mr. Zients, vice chairman of Biden’s transition operations after the November 2020 election, brings significant managerial expertise in government and the private sector.

He was director of the National Economic Council and acting director of the Office of Management and Budget during the administration of Barack Obama.

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