Biden To Get Debate Prep From Former Chief of Staff Who Trashed His Campaign Strategy

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
May 15, 2024

President Joe Biden's former chief of staff Ron Klain, who criticized the incumbent's campaign strategy last month, is set to help Biden prepare for an upcoming debate with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

Klain said he would take a break from his role as Airbnb’s chief legal officer to "assist" in Biden’s debate preparation "on my own time," according to a Wednesday report by the New York Times, just weeks after he slammed his former boss’s campaign strategy as a "fool’s errand." 

"I think the president is out there too much talking about bridges. He does two or three events a week where he’s cutting a ribbon on a bridge," Klain said in April, urging Biden to instead tackle skyrocketing grocery and gas prices.

The Times report came as Biden and Trump on Wednesday agreed to participate in debates on June 27 and Sept. 10.

Klain is "one of the president’s most trusted confidants, and was critical to Mr. Biden’s debate preparations during the 2020 campaign," according to the Times

After leaving his role as White House chief of staff in 2023, Klain continued to be a key figure in the Biden administration, regularly attending political strategy discussions at the White House and offering advice to Biden by phone.

Klain in April told former White House press secretary Jen Psaki that "rules are going to have to be enforced" during any debate between Biden and Trump.

"Trump didn’t follow the rules at all [in the 2016 and 2020 debates]," Klain said. "He talked over his opponents. There wasn’t a fair division of time. It was more a spectacle than a debate. That’s always going to be true with Donald Trump on the stage."