Senior advisor to President Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement are big shoes for people to fill, especially one person alone. Yet Cedric Richmond did just that, and on May 18th he abandoned both of those positions unceremoniously. With the midterm elections coming up, it seems most likely that he is headed to the Democratic National Committee. Before joining Team Biden, Richmond represented Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District and was the chairman of Biden’s 2020 Presidential campaign.
Richmond made a lot of enemies and friends on the Hill. Widely regarded as someone who could easily go between the Democrats and Republicans, he was someone who could help bring a bill to life or help generate bipartisan support. The American Rescue Plan and infrastructure law were only passed because of his efforts to secure bipartisan support. He did what his boss could not do and seems to be refusing to even try to accomplish it. This is the kind of teammate each party needs and it’s rare to ever see one leave so quickly.
While his departure was abrupt from the public standpoint, President Biden knew he was leaving as did several higher-level officials. Currently, the Office of Public Engagement position is expected to be filled by the current deputy director Adrian Saenz. Richmond’s departing Tweet was like his time working for Biden; short and direct. “As I conclude my last day as Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, I want to extend my utmost thanks and gratitude to the American people we serve for your support and for continuously working with us.”
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Press Secretary Jen Psaki has also left recently, while several other senior advisors, strategists, and administration officials are rumored to be on the way out as well. With this kind of jumping ship just before midterms, the question becomes about what might be going on behind back doors. These departures are the thing the American people want to see from their sitting President, and often they are a sign that things in the office and country are only going to get worse. The more people leave, and the more they leave without a big dog and pony show, the more concerned the American people become.
Among those rumored to be on the way out is White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy. Given the frustrating lack of progress in her department, it’s not too shocking to hear she is looking for the exit. Enacting climate policies is a difficult thing, and transitioning to green energy isn’t a quick process, so for McCarthy, there are a lot of pieces to the pie missing for her that was crucial to her position and her goals with this administration.
Even after Biden tried to set her office up with the Green New Deal, and incentives for Americans to get electric vehicles, there wasn’t any desire to make the levels of change she wanted to see. Between a lack of bipartisan support and an infrastructure that is not currently set up to go green quickly, there is no telling how unrealistic her expectations were for her office. Even Tesla’s Techno King/CEO Elon Musk said that it was unrealistic to expect the American people to make the jump suddenly. He openly admitted that it isn’t for everyone. If this man can understand that, she should have too. So when she leaves, it’s no big surprise.