Adviser Cedric Richmond Leaving Biden White House Cedric Richmond, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, speaks at a ceremony honoring the late Congressman Alcee Hastings on April 21, 2021. ( Tasos Katopodis-Pool/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Monday, 25 April 2022 08:11 PM
While Vice President Kamala Harris has seen a mass exodus during the first year-plus of her term, President Joe Biden is losing his first senior adviser.
White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond is expected to step down as Democrats face a tough midterm election cycle, The New York Times reported Monday.
Richmond was a key ally of Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who helped Biden's Super Tuesday turnaround during the 2020 presidential primary, and one of the first backers of Biden's campaign against former President Donald Trump, urging him to run.
Richmond, director of the White House office of Public Engagement, has made his intentions to step down known to Biden, sources told the Times.
In addition to entering the private sector, Richmond was expected to advise the Democratic National Committee amid the tough midterm cycle, according to the Times. DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison and the White House have had a rocky relationship, the Times reported.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not acknowledge Richmond's impending departure, instead saying "a new important role for Cedric Richmond" is coming and something Biden is "excited about and has asked him to do."
Richmond is a former Louisiana congressman and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He worked on voting rights and police reform efforts in the White House.
Meanwhile, long-time Biden political and public relations adviser Anita Dunn is returning to the White House after departing last July to return to her communications firm, a second source briefed on the situation said.
At the same time, White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy plans to step down, as Reuters reported last week. And press secretary Psaki is expected to depart in the weeks ahead, a move that may include several members of the White House press team as well, multiple administration sources say.
It is fairly standard for top White House officials to warn staff long before midterm and presidential elections that they should depart with plenty of lead time, or stay until the election is over. But it is unclear whether Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain has issued such a memo.
Many political analysts believe Republicans are poised to take control of the House and possibly the Senate as well this November, as voters weigh in on inflation that has soared to a 40-year high on Biden's watch, and progressive groups disappointed in Biden's progress on climate and social issues stay home from the polls.
Psaki's primary deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, is considered a top contender to take over when Psaki leaves, multiple sources within the White House said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.