Joe Biden chief of staff Ron Klain says president-elect will have busy first day
From the Paris Agreement to immigration, Mr Biden plans to sign a stack of executive orders
Joe Biden plans to sign a stack of executive orders on his first day in office as 46th president of the United States, his newly appointed chief of staff said.
“He is going to implement a Covid-19 plan on day one,” Ron Klain said on Thursday in his first interview since Mr Biden chose him as chief of staff.
Mr Biden will also sign orders to return of the US to the Paris climate accords, and to protect migrants whose parents came to the US illegally, often referred to as “Dreamers”.
"He is going to have a busy first day," Mr Klain said on the MSNBC cable news show Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.
Asked if Mr Biden had spoken with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell since winning the election, Mr Klain said he had not. However, Mr Biden had reached out to and spoken with various Republican senators and state governors, and several party members had contacted the president-elect, he said, without mentioning names.
“I’m not naming names because they’re private conversations,” Mr Klain said when the host asked whether Republican senators and governors feared President Donald Trump's anger if it became known they had spoken to Mr Biden.
“His focus is on doing his job as president-elect,” he said. “They [voters] want to see an incoming president who can work with both parties and get things done and that’s exactly what’s going to happen going forward."
Mr Klain said that although the Trump administration was not relaying messages to Mr Biden from various world leaders, the president-elect was managing to work around the problem.
“A lot of these world leaders already know how to reach him,” he said. “You’re seeing a very positive reaction all over the world,” he added, noting that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Francis had all spoken to Mr Biden.
Mr Klain did not hide his frustration that the US General Services Administration (GSA) was not giving the necessary resources to the Biden transition team, but said the president-elect was moving forward with preparations for taking office on January 20.
“It has been minor so far, but as time passes, the unreasonable position of the GSA will have an impact,” he said, referring to Mr Biden's plan to launch a new strategy against the Covid-19 outbreak in the US.
“The sooner we can get our experts into meetings, the more seamless a transition can be … the need to get the access the American people want us to have grows each day.”
Mr Kain said vice president-elect Kamala Harris would be front and centre throughout the Biden administration.
“She is going to be a very important vice president,” he said. “She is incredibly insightful and her views are being heard … she’ll be the last person in the room when Biden makes a decision.”
Mr Klain previously served as Mr Biden's chief of staff from 2009 to 2011, while Mr Biden was vice president in the Obama White House.
He also served as Barack Obama’s Ebola response co-ordinator in 2014
He was vice president Al Gore's chief of staff during the Bill Clinton administration.
Updated: November 13, 2020 05:06 PM