White House’s Bedingfield to step down as communications director
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield will be stepping down this summer, a source familiar with the move confirmed to The Hill.
Bedingfield, a longtime aide to President Biden who dates back to his time as vice president, quickly became one of Biden’s most trusted advisers and helped catapult him to the White House.
The departure comes after Democrats have complained about Biden’s problems with messaging as he has been dealt a series of setbacks, from the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade to gun violence and record-high inflation.
Party members have especially expressed frustration about Biden’s communications strategy in recent months as his approval ratings have soured and remain at record lows.
“His messaging has been terrible,” said one Democratic strategist. “It’s bad. There’s no way around it.”
Bedingfield, who worked on Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign in a senior role before joining the White House, is the latest member of the White House press office to depart over the past few months. It is not uncommon for officials to leave after a year in the job, particularly if they worked on the campaign trail, but Bedingfield is a particularly close adviser to Biden who helped prepare him for debates and interviews on the campaign.
“Without Kate Bedingfield’s talent and tenacity, Donald Trump might still be in the White House, the Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Law might still be unrealized goals, and Kentaji Brown Jackson might not be sitting on the Supreme Court,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in a statement.
“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 added. “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.”
Jen Psaki left her role as press secretary in May, and a handful of assistant and deputy press secretaries left as well in the following weeks. Deputy Communications Director Pili Tobar also departed in the spring.
The White House has added communications officials from other agencies in the administration, most notably bringing former Pentagon press secretary John Kirby aboard as the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications at the White House.
The Biden White House has juggled a series of crises in recent weeks, including inflation, the war in Ukraine, gun violence and the Supreme Court striking down the Roe v. Wade abortion precedent.
Some Democrats have criticized the White House for being flat-footed in its response to some of those issues, particularly the Supreme Court ruling, which had been telegraphed weeks earlier in a leaked draft opinion.
This story was updated at 4:04 p.m.