Progressive Democrats 'skeptical' about new White House chief of staff

 February 2, 2023

The Hill reported that White House Chief of staff Ron Klain made his exit this week, and will be replaced by the Biden administration's coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients.

According to the website, that move has some of the Democratic Party's more left-leaning members feeling nervous. 

Zients is a move "rightward"

The Hill noted that Klain has long served "as connective tissue between progressives and the establishment figures closest to the president, while often offering a sympathetic ear to the left," a feat Zients is considered unlikely to replicate.

Among those sounding the alarm is Norman Solomon, who helped co-found the digital activist support network RootsAction.

"'Skeptical' only begins to describe the reasonable and widespread view of Zients that’s shared by many progressive Democrats," Solomon was quoted as saying.

"Replacing Klain with him is a step backward and rightward for a White House orientation that has deteriorated during the last two years," the activist complained.

Left-wing YouTuber lashes out at administration

Cenk Uygur hosts a far-left YouTube channel called "The Young Turks," and he lashed out at both Zients along with the president.

"Waiting for Joe Biden to do something progressive or bold is a fool’s errand," Uygur declared. "Of course he’s going to hire a corporatist chief of staff, because that’s who he is."

"It doesn’t matter who he would have hired," Uygur went on to insist, adding, "There is a zero-percent chance Biden is going to do anything progressive going forward."

However, The Hill pointed out that some progressives such as Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal have adopted a more hopeful tone, saying, "Ron Klain is a national treasure. He was deeply respectful of both the strength and the power of the Progressive Caucus and the progressive movement."

"We’ve seen powerful, progressive governance from the Biden Administration and Ron was critical to making so much of that happen," she continued before expressing optimism that Zients may play a similar role.

Klain sobs at farewell event

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported that Klain grew emotional during his send-off Wednesday and at one point burst into tears, sobbing, "This is the best job I ever had."

The outgoing White House chief of staff also had kind words for Vice President Kamala Harris, asserting, "It’s been an honor to be [Harris’] next-door neighbor in the West Wing these two years."

“I wish every American could get to know Vice President Harris as I have. I would say she’s been the best vice president in history, but, eh, you know," he added in a joking reference to the fact that Biden also served as vice president.

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