WASHINGTON — Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, will step down from her position this summer, marking the latest departure of a senior adviser from the Biden administration.
Bedingfield, a longtime aide to President Joe Biden who helped shape the messaging strategy for his campaign and during his presidency, is leaving to spend more time with her family, White House aides said Wednesday. She is expected to assist the White House from outside the administration, although her next position remained unclear.
Ron Klain, the president’s chief of staff, credited Bedingfield with helping Biden win the 2020 election, pass the coronavirus stimulus and infrastructure packages, and secure the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“She has played a huge role in everything the president has achieved — from his second term as vice president, through the campaign and since coming to the White House,” Klain said in a statement. “Her strategic acumen, intense devotion to the president’s agenda and fierce work on his behalf are unmatched. She will continue to remain a critical player in moving the Biden agenda forward from the outside.”
It is the latest departure from a White House communications apparatus that has faced growing criticism from members of the president’s own party. Democrats have in recent weeks pressed Biden for a more forceful and consistent message in response to multiple mass shootings, the Supreme Court’s ruling to eliminate the federal right to abortion and record-high inflation.
The announcement comes just weeks after Jen Psaki left her job as the White House press secretary for an on-air role at MSNBC. A number of more junior press aides have also exited in recent weeks, as well as some higher-ranking staff members. Cedric Richmond, a former senior adviser, left the White House in May for a similar role at the Democratic National Committee. Jeff Zients, the White House COVID czar, also departed the administration this year.
But Biden has also brought in longtime advisers, a sign that he is preparing his reelection campaign. Anita Dunn, a senior adviser, recently returned to the White House from her public affairs firm. Ian Sams, who had been a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, has joined the White House staff as a spokesperson for the counsel’s office.
Bedingfield, an aide for Biden since he was vice president during the Obama administration, was one of the more visible public faces of his 2020 campaign. As deputy campaign manager and communications director, she often appeared on television as a surrogate for Biden.
She was tasked with building support for Biden after he finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary, raising doubts about his ability to win the election. She then helped craft Biden’s message of unifying the country, which he has continued to turn to during his presidency.
As communications director, Bedingfield holds a role that is typically more behind the scenes than that of Psaki or the current press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre. But when they both were sidelined with the coronavirus, Bedingfield made multiple appearances hosting the White House daily press briefing.