Biden’s Former Chief of Staff Calls President’s Campaign Strategy a 'Fool's Errand'

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
April 10, 2024

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Tuesday criticized President Joe Biden’s campaign strategy, arguing his former boss should focus less on bridges and more on the economy and rising prices ahead of a rematch this fall with Republican nominee Donald Trump. 

"I think the president is out there too much talking about bridges," Klain said at a Tuesday event, according to audio obtained by Politico. "He does two or three events a week where he’s cutting a ribbon on a bridge. And here’s a bridge. Like I tell you, if you go into the grocery store, you go to the grocery store and, you know, eggs and milk are expensive, the fact that there’s a fucking bridge is not [inaudible]."

"[Biden] is not a congressman. He’s not running for Congress," Klain added. "I think it’s kind of a fool’s errand. I think that [it] also doesn’t get covered that much because, look, it’s a fucking bridge. Like it’s a bridge, and how interesting is the bridge? It’s a little interesting but it’s not a lot interesting."

Klain, who left the Biden administration in February 2023, last week also urged the president to address rising prices. "Although inflation has moderated, prices are still high. The price of gasoline is still high. Other prices are still high, and people feel that pinch," Klain said on MSNBC, adding that "the president needs to make more progress on that."

The White House in response to Klain's comments told Politico the president has focused on pressing economic issues.

"[Biden] is fighting to grow the middle class and lower costs like prescription drugs while blocking the trickle-down agenda Republican officials have proposed on behalf of rich special interests, including Medicare cuts and tax giveaways to big corporations," White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said

Klain’s remarks came amid a series of dismal economic reports for Biden in recent months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported for four consecutive months a higher-than-expected Consumer Price Index, which tracks the prices consumers pay for goods and services. Given voters in polls have consistently ranked economic issues among their top concerns, the rising inflation spells trouble for Biden as he looks to take on Trump in the presidential election this fall.