President Joe Biden's new chief of staff, Jeff Zients, is already unpopular among Democrats who worry he's taking the administration in a more centrist direction, the Washington Examiner reported. Zients replaced predecessor Ron Klain on Feb. 1.
Progressives are upset that Zients has a more structured approach to running the White House that makes it less accessible. However, they also believe Zients is behind some of Biden's more moderate policies as of late.
The president recently opened up Alaska to oil drilling in opposition to many environmentalist groups. Biden also betrayed Democrats who scratched out a tough vote over a D.C. crime bill only to have the president change course on it anyway.
"There’s a transition going on in the administration," Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal said. "We were looking forward to developing a good relationship with Jeff Zients, but at this point, we’re not in that place yet," the Washington Democrat explained.
"So we’re still working on it." Because the change in Biden coincided with Zients taking over, many see him as responsible for Biden's about-face.
"I would give him a C-," an unnamed aide said of the new chief of staff's performance. "It’s a generous C-."
However, it appears Zients is more business-like than his predecessor and has streamlined the way the office is run. Tasks are delegated through the chain of command rather than the hands-on way Klain conducted things.
Zeints is applying his Wall Street experience and business acumen to running the White House, and people have noticed. "The White House is a quick-paced place and from Jeff on down, we are maximizing every minute," Andrew Bates, deputy press secretary, explained.
“So if we have a 15-minute meeting, it’s because the meeting only needs to be 15 minutes. And if the meeting needs to be an hour, he’ll make it an hour."
Klain himself said that his former co-workers are happy with the job Zients has done. "What I’m hearing from old White House colleagues and from key allies on Capitol Hill is that Jeff is off to a great start — building on the progress of the past two years, with effective outreach and open communication," Klain said.
However, worrying about what Klain is doing is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The real problem for the Biden administration is what voters think of him and his sinking ship.
With less than two years to go before his likely reelection bid, Biden still suffers from abysmal poll numbers. This month, Biden slipped to 38% approval nearing his all-time low, the Associated Press reported.
Voters are beginning to catch on to the fact that Biden is terrible at his job. Pumping money into the economy in the name of COVID-19 relief has caused inflation that continues to spiral, and Americans are sick of paying more for everything while Biden also funnels billions of dollars to fund Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Perhaps Klain is attempting to move Biden to the center because his leftist bent is making him painfully unpopular. Rather than blaming Biden, Democrats are projecting it all onto Klain -- and that's just not helpful.