President Joe Biden announced Friday that Jeff Zients will replace Ron Klain as his chief of staff. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Friday formally announced Jeff Zients as his pick to take over as his chief of staff replacing Ron Klain.
Biden said the White House will host an official transition event to thank Klain for his work in the White House on Friday, saying they have "been through some real battles together" in the 36 years they've known each other.
"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," he said.
Biden said that he's known Klain "since he was a third-year law student" and that he was confident he would "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."
The focus for Klain's replacement turned to Zients over the weekend after reports surfaced about an internal search. Zients headed up Biden's COVID-19 response team as its coordinator and served as director of the National Economic Council under former President Barack Obama.
"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."
Biden said Zients will be in charge of implementing laws passed under his administration and making sure those are administered "efficiently and fairly."
"I've seen Jeff Zients tackle some of the toughest issues in government," Biden said in a White House statement on Friday. "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.