Aug 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top Biden adviser Anita Dunn departs White House today

Mike Allen

Anita Dunn meets with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill last month. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anita Dunn, one of President Biden's closest advisers during the campaign and as he built his administration, will depart the White House after today but remain a top confidant.

Why it matters: Dunn is one of the small handful of aides in the Oval Office who preps Biden before any major appearance. She helped place women in senior roles throughout the West Wing.

What they're saying: White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told me: "Anita is a backbone of Team Biden and her leadership was critical not just to the campaign but to our first 200 days in the White House."

  • "She's someone all of us turn to as a sounding board and for guidance — and although she may wish we’d leave her in peace, that definitely won’t change!"

The big picture: Dunn, whose title is senior adviser, had said from the beginning that she was only coming into the West Wing for a few months. She now returns to SKDK, the powerful Washington firm she helped found.

  • After a disappointing early start for Biden in his race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Dunn was elevated and helped map a tough win in a crowded field.

Dunn was a senior campaign adviser for President Obama and his White House communications director, making her the rare top aide to two different winning presidents.

  • She has long been one of the best-known operatives in Democratic politics, and played senior roles for Sens. Tom Daschle, Bill Bradley and Evan Bayh.

Hilary Rosen, SKDK's vice chair, told me: "Anita doesn't only give you lofty thematics. She's also very concrete about what needs to be done. She's therefore very comforting as a strategist, because she has certainty."

  • A New York Times article last month said many in the White House "view her departure as a brief moment to breathe before she starts to plan the president’s re-election, which so far he has indicated he intends to wage."
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