Jan 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Top White House aides moving to Biden re-election campaign

Jen O'Malley Dillon, White House deputy chief of staff, and Jake Sullivan leaving the White House.

White House deputy chief of staff Jen O'Malley (right) follows President Biden on the South Lawn before boarding Marine One last year. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the face of stubbornly low poll numbers, two top White House aides are leaving to join President Biden's re-election campaign, the New York Times first reported.

Driving the news: Deputy chief of staff Jen O'Malley Dillon — who managed Biden's general election bid in 2020 — and senior adviser Mike Donilon will be moving to the campaign in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: The Biden team has publicly projected calm. But the personnel moves are a reaction to deep anxieties among Democrats, Biden's team and the president himself that the re-election campaign is falling behind.

Between the lines: Biden's most trusted aides have remained in the White House, so top campaign officials were not fully empowered to make many decisions without the West Wing signing off.

  • In recent weeks, former President Obama's private concerns became public — including his suggestion to Biden aides that "the campaign needs more top-level decision-makers at its headquarters," as the Washington Post reported.

Zoom in: Donilon is one of Biden's most trusted political aides having worked with him since the 1980s.

  • Except for the president himself, Donilon is often the last person to review and change Biden's speeches.
  • O'Malley Dillon took over as Biden's 2020 campaign manager just as he became the Democratic nominee. Many in Bidenworld are hoping she can steer him to victory again.
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