President Joe Biden’s senior advisor Cedric Richmond is leaving his White House job as director of the Office of Public Engagement to work in the private sector — for the Democratic National Committee.
Some observers said Richmond had trouble finding footing in the West Wing, where he coordinated dialogue between the Biden-Harris administration and the public.
As public liaison, Richmond’s role was to connect the Department of State to domestic audiences and to directly engage the American public to advance the department’s work at home and abroad. Richmond’s work hasn’t improved Biden’s ratings with the public.
A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll of adults age 18-29, released April 25, found that 41 percent of young Americans approve of Biden’s job performance. That’s a drop from 46 percent in the fall of 2021. Biden’s approval rating was 59 percent in the spring of 2021.
Gallup Poll’s latest update from an April 1-19 survey also found that 41 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance and 56 percent disapprove.
Richmond, 48, confirmed on April 26 that he plans to leave the White House for a job at the Democratic National Committee, The New York Post reported. This confirmation came shortly after a media report that Richmond had called progressive Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib “f—ing idiots.”
The DNC argued that it is a private corporation and a federal judge agreed when a group of Bernie Sanders supporters filed a class-action lawsuit against the DNC and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They argued that they were denied a fair and impartial election in the 2016 presidential primary. A federal judge dismissed the DNC lawsuit in August 2017, ruling that the DNC is a private corporation so voters cannot protect their rights by turning to the courts.
It’s unclear if Richmond’s criticism of Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Tlaib (D-Mich.) had anything to do with the timing of his exit. The former Louisiana congressman blasted the “Squad” members after progressive activists slammed Biden for hiring Richmond despite his history of accepting campaign donations from fossil fuel executives.
Richmond’s upcoming DNC role has been loosely defined as boosting the party’s profile for the midterm elections in November. He and the White House described the move as a promotion.
Biden was criticized for referring to Richmond as “boy” during a press conference in 2021.
DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison said in a statement, “There are few people more capable of helping us continue to build on our successes and deliver our message as we head into the midterm elections.” He said Richmond’s transfer shows “the Democratic Party is all-in and leaving nothing to chance.”
“I am thrilled that the President has entrusted me with helping boost the robust work already being done at the DNC to make sure that Democrats grow their majorities in the House and Senate and increase the number of Democratic governors in state capitals around the country,” Richmond said in a statement to CNN.
Prior to joining the Biden administration, Richmond was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a co-chairman of Biden’s presidential campaign. He served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a member of the New Democrat Coalition, and served as the House Democratic assistant to the majority whip.
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There have been a number of other departures from the White House staff.
Vice President Kamala Harris has lost several staff members. Symone Sanders left her job as Harris’ communications director in early 2022. Nancy McEldowney stepped down as Harris’ national security adviser, CBS News reported.
Harris is about to lose her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy.
Photo: President Joe Biden and White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond attend the annual baseball game between congressional Republicans and Democrats, Sept. 29, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)