White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield steps down

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Kate Bedingfield, the longtime White House Communications Director, will leave the Biden administration at the end of the month as President Joe Biden gears up for an expected reelection campaign in 2024.

Ms Bedingfield, who previously announced – and retracted – plans to resign last year, will be replaced by Ben LaBolt, a former Obama White House communications aide who served on Mr Biden’s 2020 transition team and headed communications efforts during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Mr LaBolt worked on both Obama-Biden campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and will be the first openly gay White House communications director.

In a statement, Mr Biden said Ms Bedingfield “has been a loyal and trusted adviser, through thick and thin” dating back to his time as vice president.

“She was a critical strategic voice from the very first day of my presidential campaign in 2019 and has been a key part of advancing my agenda in the White House. The country is better off as a result of her hard work and I’m so grateful to her – and to her husband and two young children – for giving so much,” he said, adding that Mr LaBolt “has big shoes to fill”.

Mr Biden called his incoming communications director “a first-rate communicator who’s shown his commitment to public service again and again, and who has a cutting-edge understanding of how Americans consume information”.

“I saw him fight for Justice Jackson, and he put his all into helping us make history confirming our cabinet and subcabinet nominees. I’m proud to have him rejoin this team,” he said.

Ms Bedingfield is the second senior White House official to depart the administration this month, following Mr Biden’s first chief of staff, Ron Klain, whose last day was 8 February.

She is expected to play a role in Mr Biden’s reelection effort, which has not yet been formally announced.