Already a member? Log In

Klain Drain and Trump’s Big Announcement

Ron Klain
White House chief of staff Ron Klain. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
June 2, 2022

The dam, it seems, has broken for Joe Biden’s highly disciplined, always-on-message, mega-professional, pro-staffed White House. Recent stories about the West Wing being “adrift” have appeared in NBC and The Washington Post, both essentially reporting what I’ve been saying in this space for weeks: the knives are out for Chief of Staff Ron Klain, a brilliant tactician who is nevertheless facing blowback on account of Biden’s low approval numbers and his own, albeit often necessary, neurotic pageant-mom management of the gaffe-happy president. 

Is it surprising that Klain, who runs the ship, would become the focus of such criticism? Of course not; that’s life at the top, especially in this town. But the intensity and flow of vitriol is surprising. It seems to suggest that donors, House members, and even Klain’s own aides don’t want to hold their fire until he presumably decides to leave his post after the midterms. Are they trying to force his hand, in a desperate bid to save the Democratic party’s Congressional fortunes before they are crushed in November? From what I’m hearing, some party insiders are just so desperate for any change and they’d be willing to take a few news cycles about the dysfunction to facilitate it sooner rather than later. (The White House did not offer a comment on the situation.)