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Biden names Ron Klain as chief of staff

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE on Wednesday named Ron Klain as his chief of staff, according to two sources close to the transition.

Klain, Biden's longtime confidant and chief of staff during his years as vice president, had been considered a favorite for the role.

He served as one of Biden’s main advisers as the former vice president prepared to debate President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE ahead of the election. 

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“Ron has been invaluable to me over the many years that we have worked together, including as we rescued the American economy from one of the worst downturns in our history in 2009 and later overcame a daunting public health emergency in 2014,” Biden said in a statement. 

“His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again," he added. 

The 59-year-old will be elevated to the role as the Biden administration makes responding to the coronavirus pandemic its first priority. Klain has experience in that realm, as he previously served as the Obama administration’s Ebola czar in 2014 and 2015.

Klain called the appointment an "honor of a lifetime."

"I look forward to helping him and the Vice President-elect assemble a talented and diverse team to work in the White House, as we tackle their ambitious agenda for change, and seek to heal the divides in our country,” Klain said in a statement. 

Klain first began working for Biden in 1989 when Biden was a senator from Delaware. He also worked for the president-elect's 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns before joining the Obama administration.

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Klain was a major proponent of Biden's presidential run, arguing the former vice president would be the best person to handle the coronavirus pandemic that has now infected more than 10.3 million and killed more than 240,000 people in the U.S. 

After initially refusing, afraid of stealing Biden's spotlight, he appeared in a video in mid-March, in which he promoted Biden’s coronavirus plan and slammed President Trump. The video came just as offices and schools were shutting down and strict limits were placed on businesses and public spaces.

“Think about what kind of president you want to have running your country,” he said. “As someone who has led a response like this and has worked with Joe Biden for more than 30 years, I can tell you he would know what to do when something happens again like this in the future. He wouldn’t mess it up like our current president has.” 

Biden’s advisers have indicated the president-elect will name other White House officials in the next few days after Biden was projected as the winner of the election on Saturday. 

But Trump has refused to concede the race, tweeting “WE WILL WIN,” on Wednesday. The president’s campaign is contesting the vote in several battleground states through lawsuits, alleging widespread voter fraud without any substantiating evidence. 

The Trump administration’s denial of the results is already presenting problems for the Biden transition team. Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, has not recognized Biden as the president-elect, preventing the team from beginning a number of aspects of the transition of power.

Murphy’s acknowledgement of Biden’s win will give the team access to millions of federal funding to pay for salaries, consultants and travel as well as the ability to meet with current government officials and to be briefed on intelligence. 

Updated at 8:20 p.m.