What do Sherman Adams, HR Halderman, Alexander Haig, Dick Cheney, James Baker, Howard Baker, Leon Panetta, Erskine Bowles, Andrew Card, and Rahm Emanuel all have in common?

Cheney, the Bakers, Panetta, and Emanuel are regarded as the best of this exceptional group.


History regards them as among the most effective Chiefs of Staff in Modern American History that oversaw effective White House day to day operations.

Note that none of Donald Trump’s four Chiefs of Staff have made this list.

Ron Klain probably hopes history will place him with the skilled public servants that have served as the gatekeepers to the Oval Office.

Joe Biden announced that Mr. Klain will serve as his White House Chief of Staff when the Biden/Harris Administration takes office on January 20, 2021.

In the press release announcing the selection, President-Elect Joe Biden said:

“Ron has been invaluable to me over the many years that we have worked together, including as we rescued the American economy from one of the worst downturns in our history in 2009 and later overcame a daunting public health emergency in 2014. His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again.”

Mr. Klain, in the same release, said:

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve President-elect Biden in this role, and I am humbled by his confidence. I look forward to helping him and the Vice President-elect assemble a talented and diverse team to work in the White House, as we tackle their ambitious agenda for change, and seek to heal the divides in our country.”


Klain has already been President-Elect Biden’s Chief of Staff before. He has served in that capacity when Biden was a Senator and Vice President.

He has also served Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton in their runs for the Presidency.

He was Al Gores Chief of Staff and helped spearhead his Florida recount case.

He also oversaw the containment of the Ebola Virus in 2014.

Ron Klain, unlike Trump’s four Chief of Staffs, is exceptionally qualified to be the White House Chief of Staff.

Every successful White House has a strong Chief of Staff that can control access to the President and coordinate all activities in the nation’s Executive Nerve Center.

They are, as Chris Whipple titled his work “The Gatekeepers.”

After the debacle of the Trump years, Ron Klain will hopefully operate like a Dick Cheney (Ford,) James and Howard Baker (Reagan,) Leon Panetta (Clinton,) and Rahm Emanuel (Obama) Chief of Staff as opposed to a Rance Priebus, Mick Mulvaney, or Mark Meadows (all Trump appointees.)

January 20, 2021, is in 70 days.

For further examination, please read Peter Baker and Susan Glasser’s The Man Who Ran Washington, David Gergen’s Eyewitness to Power, and Chris Whipple’s The Gatekeepers.