Klain will lead a White House likely to be consumed by the response to the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spread unchecked across the nation, and he'll likely face the challenge of working with a divided Congress.

US Vice President Joe Biden listens to Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain speak to organisation leaders responding to the Ebola crisis, while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, DC, on November 13, 2014.
US Vice President Joe Biden listens to Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain speak to organisation leaders responding to the Ebola crisis, while in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, DC, on November 13, 2014. (Reuters)

US President-elect Joe Biden has chosen top Democratic official Ronald Klain as his chief of staff and assistant to the president.

Klain is one of Biden's closest confidants and first worked for the Democrat in 1989 when he was a US senator. 

He was in charge of the Obama administration's response to the Ebola health crisis in 2014, when Biden was vice president.

A fierce critic of Republican President Donald Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Klain was expected to be a key figure in Biden's response to the health crisis.

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Longtime aide

“Ron has been invaluable to me over the many years that we have worked together, including as we rescued the American economy from one of the worst downturns in our history in 2009 and later overcame a daunting public health emergency in 2014,” Biden said in a statement.

Klain said in a statement: “It's the honour of a lifetime to serve President-elect Biden in this role, and I am humbled by his confidence. I look forward to helping him and the vice president-elect assemble a talented and diverse team to work in the White House."

Klain was Biden's vice-presidential chief of staff and was most recently a senior adviser to Biden's presidential campaign.

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Source: Reuters