Speaking of this administration, we’ve been getting a lot of pushback from your call for Biden to replace Ron Klain with someone new as White House chief of staff. With someone like Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader …
Bret: Or maybe Claire McCaskill of Missouri or Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, both of them former senators with excellent political skills and a good feel for the way in which decisions made in the Beltway play in flyover country U.S.A.
Also, in complete and utter contradiction to what I was just saying, I think it would be great to have a woman in the chief of staff role. There have been 30 White House chiefs of staff, going back to John Steelman in the Truman administration, and every single one of them has been a white guy. With further apologies to Klain, who really is smart and decent, why is he standing in the way of the social progress his administration otherwise claims to champion? Why not put the “quit” into “e-quit-y,” as someone once said?
Gail: Bret! No fair messing with my head. Wait until the weather’s better.
But I do want to take this opportunity to note that Tom Daschle himself wrote me to say that while he was “appreciative” of your mention, he thought Klain was perfect for the job — “I have never known a more organized, intelligent or committed individual.”
Bret: In my experience, that’s the sort of thing people in Washington say while they wait for someone else to stick the knife in. But I’m sure the former majority leader was being totally sincere.
On a more somber subject, Gail, that was a heartbreaking funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Jason Rivera, the New York City police officer who was killed with his partner, Wilbert Mora, as the two were answering a domestic disturbance call in Harlem. Our colleague Maureen Dowd wrote an extraordinarily moving column about it that brought tears to my eyes. As painful as it is, I’m hoping we might be turning the page on the anti-police rhetoric of the last few years. Having a mayor like Eric Adams also helps. Your thoughts on his performance so far?
Gail: There have been so many crises since Adams took over, I guess the fact that he’s still standing is a plus. And you’re right, Maureen’s column was a wonderful tribute to the police in her own family and the nation.