President Barack Obama will appoint Ron Klain to head up efforts to address the Ebola threat, a senior administration official tells NBC News.
Klain is a former chief of staff to both Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore. He left the vice president’s office in 2011. He is now the president of Case Holdings and serves as the general counsel for Revolution, an investment organization.
Obama signaled his openness to appointing an Ebola “czar” Thursday night, telling reporters that it “may be appropriate” to elevate an additional person to coordinate the U.S. response.
Klain will report directly to White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the president’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco. He is tasked with protecting Americans from the disease and making sure the response is coordinated with the U.S. effort to stop Ebola in West Africa.
The White House had previously resisted the idea of a czar, saying that the administration had already established clear lines of responsibility for handling the threat.
But Obama faced pressure from critics who argue that the nation’s hospitals are not prepared for an outbreak of the virus.
The choice of Klain did not assuage some detractors. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson weighed in on Twitter.