White House Appoints An Ebola ‘Czar’

October 17, 2014

Ron Klain, a former White House adviser, has been appointed to head U.S. efforts to combat Ebola.

A White House official says Klain “will report directly to the president’s Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and … National Security Adviser Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa.”

Klain, a former chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is currently president of case holdings and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a technology-oriented venture capital firm based in Washington, D.C.

The White House official tells NPR’s Tamara Keith that Klain’s role “is consistent with the view the president articulated in the Oval Office last night that Monaco, Rice and others have done outstanding work in confronting this challenge so far — but given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response.”

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET: GOP Reaction

Louisiana Republican John Fleming, himself a physician, says Klain appointment “is inserting a highly political figure into this situation that’s not political at all.”

Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who is chairman of the a subcommittee that heard testimony on Ebola on Thursday, says he’s “shocked” by Klain’s appointment.

“At a three hour hearing yesterday, we had the top names in this country who are dealing with Ebola and not one of them said please appoint a former campaign worker to tell us what to do,” he tells NPR.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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