tv President Biden Hosts Chief of Staff Transition CSPAN February 2, 2023 2:07am-2:32am EST
one of the things that we all know, each of your departments, people have lost faith in government's ability to deliver. they've lost faith in the private sector and what they advertise, that they say they're delivering. it's about just letting people know that, you know, we see what's happening. and it's totally appropriate to do what we're doing. and really, i think the whole idea here is we have to rebuild confidence in our ability to deliver for the american people. and i think that's a big chunk of what we're doing here. i'm going to turn it over to the director of the national economic council. >> thank you, mr. president. [people speaking at once] staffn
please have a seat, if you have one. [laughter] i want to, for the press, i want to put an end to the rumors that the rest of the staff has not quit because he's leaving. [laughter] i wanted you to know that. i knew this day would come, to state the obvious, but it doesn't make it any easier. and i've known ron since he was a kid, you know? third-year law student in a school near boston, what was that school's name? harvard, i think? and he came to work with me in the united states senate on the senate jewish richly -- judiciary committee a week after he got married. and he married a woman even brighter. stand the up for a minute. [cheers and applause] when he came down, she was a third-year student at georgetown, and he decided to do his third year -- still graduated from harvard at the top of his crass, but he decided
to do his third year at georgetown. and that's when i -- he was working full time as a student and working full time with me. i knew the moment he started he was a once in a generation talent. that's not hyperbole. he's a fiercely brilliant intellect. again, those of you who have worked with him know it to be true. and this is important, he has a heart as big as his head, you know? [laughter] you know, thank you, ron and monica and anna and mike and danny. you know, you're like family. and folks who have been with me a long time know it's hard to get away from us -- [laughter] even when you leave. speaking of the family, there's one member of the family who wouldn't couldn't be here, ron's mom. mom, if you can see this or it gets played for you, we love you. rewe'll do, we're thinking a lot about you. you raised one heck of a son, and you should be so proud. ron is a credit to you, mom.
and ron couldn't have chosen -- could have done anything he wanted to do in life, but he chose to serve his country. he chose to serve his country, and the whole klain family made sacrifices in order for him to be able to do that public service. and they're on the front row here. you really did. i want to thank all of you, all of you, for letting your dad do what he's done as long as he has with me. for the last 36 years, ron has been at my side in one capacity or another, and there's been some very tough and real battles we've been in together. and when you're in the trenches with somebody, you figure out pretty quickly what they're made of. you get to know the person pretty damn well. and you see everything about them that when they, how they act under significant pressure and how, there's a a phrase in the neighborhood i come from, he's willing to jump in front of a bus for you. this is a guy who's always been there, you know? and so i knew as we faced our
most important battle, the battle for the soul of the nation, that i needed ron. and that's not hyperbole. i needed ron and i knew it. and i asked him, i asked him whether he would lead the charge for me. and, you know, he did. he knows how government works, how politics works and how congress and the white house work. but most of all, he has enormous, enormous integrity. he assembled the most diverse and most talented white house team in history and led them to solve some of the really difficult problems. with ron's leadership, just look at what we've gotten over the years. over the last two years alone, fighting covid and reviving our economy, rebuilding the infrastructure, protecting our planet, fighting for gun -- fighting against gun violence, advancing civil rights, winning confirmation of nearly 100 federal judges including the first black supreme court justice -- prison --
[applause] he played a major role in reasserting america's place in the world. maybe most important of all, helping restore faith in our democracy. the list will be the legacy of the white house team under ron's leadership. and while we've accomplished an extraordinary amount of work, consequence of ron's success, he is aboved by those of you here -- belovedded by those of you hear in the -- here in the white house as demonstrated by this crowd here. as i said earlier, there's a lot of klainiacs in this room -- [laughter] they're going to miss him, but not as much as i will. that's why i knew it was important to fill ron's shoes who understands what it takes to lead a team and who's focused on getting important things done. that's jeff zients, right here.
[applause] i've seen jeff tackle some of the toughest issues in our government. when i was vice president, i first got to know him. we worked together to implement the recovery act of 2009, and later he was director of the office of management and budgets. he later led the daunting, complicated task of fixing healthcare.gov to get millions of americans signed up for quality, affordable health care under the affordable care act. and he led the national economic council, and he shares my determine -- determination to build an economy that works for everyone, works from the bottom up and the middle out. when that happens, everybody does well. after the 2020 election, some of you know one of my closest friends in the world, ted kaufman, who was my administrative assistant then took my place in the senate, he
helped ted manage our transition in the office in incredibly trying circumstances. and he did the work. thanks to jeff, we had a historically diverse team from day one, and we were ready to get to work. and he led our covid response, a massive, historical undertaking of historical proportions, and so much more. i promised to make the government work for the american people, and that's what jeff does. it's a big task ahead. it's to implement the laws we've gotten passed efficiently, effectively and fairly and let people know what we've already done. we've made a lot of progress. but we have to build on that project. and if anyone's going to be able to build on that job, it's jeff. i want to thank jeff and mary. mary, where's mary? there you are. [applause] and you're wonderful family. the -- would the whole z can ient -- zient s family stand up?
come on. [applause] what you have to know is, you know, when you're a family of someone running the white house, you've got to be the embarrassed. i've got to embarrass you all the time and introduce you. it's because we're proud of you. and thank you, i know this doesn't happen without the cooperation of the whole family. let me close with this. when you're president of the united states and you've got to make some pretty tough calls and make decisions, you're only as good as the team you put around you. and i have an extremely -- i've been extremely lucky and grateful to have such a team as led by ron. i'm confident jeff's going to continue ron's example of smart and steady leadership on behalf of the american people. and now it's my great pleasure -- and i don't get to do this often -- [laughter] turn this over to ron to publicly speak. [laughter] ladies and gentlemen, ron klain. [cheers and applause]
>> thank you. [applause] thank you very much. thank you. [cheers and applause] [inaudible conversations] [laughter] >> thank you, all. all right. thank you all very much. i will, i will try to keep this brief, but i cannot promise there will not be some tears. this is the best job i've ever had. [applause] and even though it's often the hardest job i've ever had, i will miss this job, our work, this mission and most of all this team every single day. but i take solace in knowing that i am leaving you in the
best of hands. jeff zients will be the first white house chief of staff ever to have led two policy shops and have been the head of omb. at the darkest time of the 2020 the campaign, he stepped up to help and picked, frankly, many of you here in this room. [laughter] he ran the covid response and led the team that has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives. now, two weeks ago i marked our anniversary here by buying everyone on the team cake. [laughter] it was the second time in two years i had bought everyone cake, and people were very happy. [laughter] but jeff has pledged to buy everyone in the white house a free bagel every single day? [cheers and applause] so i will soon be forgotten. [laughter] but what will not be forgotten
is the work we have done together these two years. you've heard me say this before, but i never tire of saying it. together we passed the largest economic plan and the most significant one since fdr while managing the largest land war in europe since truman. we passed the biggest infrastructure bill since ike, passed more judges than any first-year president than jfk and the second largest health care bill since lbj and the largest climate bill passed by any country at any time anywhere on planet earth all while managing the worst public health crisis any president's faced since woodrow wilson with the narrow e estimator in congress of any new democrat president in a hundred years. [cheers and applause] and that, and that is not all. student loan debt leaf, record
low black and brown unemployment, a sweeping marijuana pardon, the respect from --en ending the longest war in history, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, the deficit cut more than any president and the record number of jobs created in this country in any two-year period. now, that's not bad. [laughter] [applause] and it is especially not bad, it is especially not bad for a president and a team that was written off for dead in the winter of 2019 and for dead again in the winter of 2020 and for dead in the winter of 2021 and for dead again the first week of november if 2022. [laughter] [applause] now, the president likes to say it is never a good bet to bet
against the american people, and he is right. but what i want to say today is it is never a good bet to bet against joe biden and this team. never, ever a good bet. [applause] now, before i turn, before i turn the podium over to jeff, i want to say some thank yous, and i appreciate your infull generals, because this will not -- indulgence, because this will not be brief. [laughter] i want to thank the men and women of the secret service, especially my detail led by brian -- [inaudible] [applause] for their exceptional professionalism and all they've done to keep my family safe. the team in my office, madeleine, nina, they're brilliant and energetic, they're here every day before i get here, after i leave. i can't thank them enough. and to remy yamamoto, she has always had my back, she has
always given good advice even if she has failed to get me to purchase a new suit for television hits. [laughter] to the biden cabinet, the first in history to be evenly divided between men and women, the most diverse cabinet in history and the most excellent cabinet in history, it has been an honor to call you colleagues. each and every one of you has become a friend and a trusted partner. my joy is in knowing you have to say good-bye to me before i have to say good-bye to any of you. [applause] to the senior staff in our -- and our department heads, in his inaugural address, the president said that this was a time for boldness in america, and your work has been the heart and the soul of that boldness. for two years we've started each day with a zoom call at 8:20 where i see the most talented and public-spirited and diverse and amazing people.
on good and bad days, you come to this place, and you have delivered for the american people. you are my peers, my partners, my friends, my family away from my family. i will miss you more than i can say. and while there is a danger in naming names, i have to thank those people at the white house i have leaned on the very most, susan rice and jake sullivan, brian deese, john and new york rah -- neera, louisa and kate bedingfield, anthony and andy, and, of course, bruce reid, anita dunn, mike done lin, my very first hire, jen dillon, and my brother in all things, steve. i want to say this about this group: the record should show that everything we accomplished here these past two years is because of you, and everything we have screwed up is because of me. [laughter] i just want to wrap up with three additional thank yous. to my family starting with my mother, which the president mentioned is too ill to be here
today, i would not be here without her and everything she has done for me. to my family and my kids, whose support, patience, love and understanding has kept me going these two years, for the engagement celebrations i missed, the birthdays, the time i was not there today various things, thank you. i love you guys. and for the next two years, every day it's my turn to walk the dog. [laughter] [applause] to the vice president who's represented by our outstanding second gentleman, doug, it's been an honor to be her next door neighbor in the west wing these past two years. i wish every american would get to know vice president harris as i have. i would say she has been the best vice president in history, but, you know -- [laughter] to the president and first lady, dr. biden, you welcomed me into the biden family four decades ago, and there is no higher honor i could have.
more than i could possibly ask. thank you so much for everything. as the president mentioned, i joined joe biden's senate staff 36 years ago, and over those 36 years i've picked up 3 kids, gotten 2 engaged, paid for 6 college advanced degrees -- [laughter] and so i just want to say this one thing today. i learned everything i know about how to be a good father from joe biden. he is the best father i know and the best role model i know. and along the way he's taught me a thing or two about politics and policy as well. [laughter] mr. president, a few minutes ago i talked about your historic record, but as much as what you have done is historic, how you have done it is equally important. with honor and integrity, a devotion to working people that's unmatchedded, a determination to save our democracy and the soul of this nation. [applause]
being white house chief of staff is the honor of a lifetime. but being joe biden's white house chief of staff has given me a unique opportunity to serve a wise, compassionate, determined and fearless president. and as i did in 1988 and 2008 and 2020, i look forward to being on your side when you run for president in 2024. [cheers and applause] all right. i will close, i will finally close with some words to the staff here. i'm often asked what is the best souvenir i got in two years as white house chief of staff. and my answer's very simple. it's this rock. this plain and simple rock. of it was given to me a year ago
on one of our darker days by -- [inaudible] it's always symbolized to me the fact that this team has been rock solid in their support of our agenda and the president. we've never wavered, we've been as solid as a rock. so i ask you today to continue to play that role. i ask each and every one of you to continue your jobs as the rock of this white house, this administration and this presidency. that's our mission. and with that, i will turn the podium over to the next white house chief of staff, jeff zients. [applause]
[applause] >> tough act to follow. anyway, thank you, mr. president. thank you, everyone, for being here. it's a huge honor to be back. i want to, first, thank you, mr. president. it's been a privilege of a lifetime to have worked with you, for you through some of the most difficult moments in our nation's history. throughout it all, one of the many things i've greatly admired is your keep sense of purpose and duty to care for every single american. that example filters down to everyone who you work with, who works for you, and that's why we work as one team to insure our democracy delivers for the people. a team that believes details and execution matter, a team that believes empathy and a moral compass matter. all of it in service to a
responsive, results-oriented government that helps make people's lives better. we thank you for your leadership and your confidence in me. second, i want to thank my friend ron. as an american, i thank you for your tireless work during such a consequential period for our country. i know the sacrifices it required of you, monica and all of your family. you've left big, huge shoes to fill, big footsteps to follow always headed in the direction of justice and opportunity and a more perfect union. third, i want to thank my colleagues at the white house, the cabinet and across the administration. governing is never easy, and that's an understatement, but when you have the right team, you can accomplish anything. it all comes down to people. it all comes down to the team.
and, mr. president, you have assembled a first rate team, some of the best, brightest and the most diverse public servants this country has to offer. i could not be more honored to join that team once again, so thank you. finally and it's most importantly, the president often reminds us family is the beginning, middle and end. i thank my incredible wife and partner mary, our four kids, my parents who are both here and my three sisters who are all here. there is no question i would not be here without all of you. mr. president, thank you again for your trust in me and all of us here. we're honored to serve you and our country. [applause] >> thank you, folks.
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