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Former Biden chief of staff Klain says president focuses too much on 'bridges,' not inflation

While Biden's infrastructure push is a "positive thing," the president should not focus so much on it, according to Klain.

Published: April 10, 2024 10:31am

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain criticized President Joe Biden's political strategy, arguing that the president is too focused on infrastructure projects and not enough on immediate economic concerns such as inflation as he runs for reelection this fall.

"I think the president is out there too much talking about bridges," Klain said Tuesday evening, according to a recording obtained by Politico. "He does two or three events a week where he’s cutting a ribbon on a bridge. And here’s a bridge. Like I tell you, if you go into the grocery store, you go to the grocery store and, you know, eggs and milk are expensive, the fact that there’s a f***ing bridge is not [inaudible]."

Klain, who joined Airbnb as chief legal officer after leaving the White House last year, made the comments criticizing Biden's strategy at an event hosted by the progressive publication Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.

While Biden's infrastructure push is a "positive thing," the president should not focus so much on it, according to Klain.

"He’s not a congressman. He’s not running for Congress," the former chief of staff also said. "I think it’s kind of a fool’s errand. I think that [it] also doesn’t get covered that much because, look, it’s a f***ing bridge. Like it’s a bridge, and how interesting is the bridge? It’s a little interesting but it’s not a lot interesting."

Since Biden entered office in January 2021, inflation has increased nearly 20%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' CPI Inflation Calculator.

White House deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates said Biden is telling the public about his efforts to help the economy by lowering drug costs and blocking Republican initiatives. 

"Like Ron says, President Biden is crisscrossing the country building on his State of the Union message, highlighting that he is fighting to grow the middle class and lower costs like prescription drugs while blocking the trickle-down agenda Republican officials have proposed on behalf of rich special interests, including Medicare cuts and tax giveaways to big corporations," Bates said. 

The bipartisan infrastructure deal was a major victory for Biden in the first year of his administration, and the White House has continued to tout it multiple times over the past year.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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