News & Politics

Is Ronald Klain About to Leave the White House? He Should.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

It’s an open secret that the White House Chief of Staff is the lifeblood of any modern presidential administration, and the same rule applies to the Biden White House.

Ronald Klain has been in President Joe Biden’s circle for years, especially when he served in the same role in then-Vice President Biden’s office from 2009 to 2011.

While this indicates that the president and Klain have a positive working relationship, Klain is one of the main people in the chain that needs to be cut loose if the administration wants any chance at redeeming itself.

Biden’s disapproval rating is at a dismal 52% and his approval the lowest yet at 43%, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Worse, the conservative Rasmussen Reports has him at 58% disapproval.

These numbers are reflective of incoherent communication on coronavirus, skyrocketing inflation, failure in Afghanistan, unrealistic domestic policy, and much more. Who plays a role in guiding the strategy of all of this? The Chief of Staff.

Related: FLASHBACK: Ron Klain Said National Government Would Beat COVID

To be fair, there is nothing personal about the strategic need for Klain’s departure. Chiefs of Staff typically do not last long, especially if the White House is seeking a change in direction or is performing poorly. Former President Barack Obama had five Chiefs of Staff, and former President Donald Trump had four (including interim chiefs).

There are two plausible theories as to why Klain has yet to be replaced: either the White House is horrifically complacent about their performance one year in and sees no need for major leadership changes; or, Klain is the glue that holds the floundering administration together.

On the first theory, there are probably few high-level staffers who sincerely believe the White House is golden. Their embarrassing loss on election reform in the Senate this week further proves that only the most aloof aide would believe everything is peachy.

Which all but guarantees the truth of the second theory — at least, until recently.

Politico reported on Friday that “morale is sinking” internally, and that Klain is starting to become a target.

“He is like this non-accessible … figure to so many people in the White House,” a mid-level administration official told the outlet. “He just keeps a very, very tight inner circle.”

While not everyone quoted in Friday’s report blamed Klain for recent hurdles, a fresh face at the internal helm might benefit the White House privately and publicly.

The White House’s legislative agenda is already a dumpster fire, but there will be no hope for their nonsensical ideas if there is no attempt to change course. Republicans are poised for a sweeping victory in November, so Biden will need to put on his faux bipartisan thinking cap soon.

There has been a desire to paint Biden as the “return to normal” president, except now the lack of turnover seems less normal and more like the bureaucratic equivalent of stale bread. It’s impossible to know for sure if ousting Klain would lead to more success for the White House down the line, but the perception of hitting a restart wouldn’t do any more damage to the already-sinking ship.