Biden begins to fill top White House positions

By Natasha Korecki and Alex Thompson

President-elect Joe Biden is beginning to fill more senior White House jobs, after tapping longtime adviser Ron Klain as his chief of staff last week.

Campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon is coming aboard as White House deputy chief of staff, according to two people familiar with the decision. She'll be joined in the West Wing by Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is planning to leave his Louisiana congressional seat for a senior adviser role focused on public engagement, according two sources familiar with the decision.

Longtime Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti is also expected to take a key administration role, according to a source familiar with the transition. The Biden team is expected to make a formal announcement on these positions and other senior hires on Tuesday.

O’Malley Dillon joins the White House after long expressing to others that she had no plans to join the government should Biden win the election. She took the reins as Biden’s campaign manager as the race headed into the general election, after serving as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke's campaign manager in the 2020 presidential primary and deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign. O'Malley Dillon's new White House position was first reported by NBC News.

Richmond, a national co-chair to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, will focus on outreach with grassroots organizations, public interest groups and advocacy groups, including the NAACP. He’s also expected to serve as a liaison with the business community and climate change activists. Bloomberg News first reported on Richmond’s new role.

Richmond has scheduled a news conference Tuesday in his home district, where he’s expected to announce he’s stepping down.

Richmond's hiring was lauded by South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most senior Black Democrat in the House and one of Biden's key allies during the 2020 campaign. "I think everybody knows I've been pushing him for this administration forever," Clyburn said. "I think it's very good for both the administration and him."

Antjuan Seawright, a South Carolina-based Democratic strategist, echoed Clyburn's assessment. “Cedric Richmond was part of the nerve center of the campaign from day one,” Seawright said. “I would give him a lion’s share of the credit why Joe Biden was so heavily engaged in the 2018 midterms and part of the reason Biden prioritized voters of color.”

Sarah Ferris contribute to this report.