White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield to Depart, Ben LaBolt to Succeed

Kate Bedingfield, the White House director of communications since the beginning of the Biden administration, is the latest in a series of staff departures following the tenure of former chief of staff Ron Klain and top economic adviser Brian Deese.[0] Bedingfield, who had previously announced her intention to leave the White House last summer, will officially depart at the end of February.[1] Her successor, Ben LaBolt, was announced by the Biden administration on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.[2]

The White House announced that LaBolt will be the first openly gay White House communications director.[3] He previously served in the Obama White House as head of communications for the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and advised the Biden-Harris transition on nominations.[4] Prior to his role in the Obama White House, LaBolt worked for then-Sen.[5] Barack Obama in Congress and on his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.[6] He also served as a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic consulting firm, a position from which he took a brief leave last year to serve as a communications adviser for the confirmation of Biden’s first Supreme Court pick.[6]

Bedingfield's tenure at the White House has been heralded by President Biden, who said in a statement that Bedingfield has been a “loyal and trusted adviser” since his time as vice president.[0] He expressed his gratitude, saying, “The country is better off as a result of her hard work and I’m so grateful to her – and to her husband and two young children – for giving so much.”[7]

The White House communications director is responsible for the overall publicity and messaging strategy for the president, including during the upcoming 2024 presidential campaign.[8] As President Biden approaches a conclusion on whether or not to run for a second term, he will be attempting to advertise his successes to the citizens of the United States, the majority of whom report in polls that he has not achieved much.[8]

With the administration entering its third year, other senior officials are making plans to leave.[8] Brian Deese, the top economic adviser, has revealed his impending departure, and Marty Walsh, the Labor Secretary, is set to become the head of the NHL Players’ Association.[8] He will be the first Cabinet secretary to leave his post during the Biden administration.[8] One source familiar with Bedingfield’s thinking said that she is now “ready in a way she wasn’t last time” to depart the Biden White House.[9]

0. “Another Biden Official Leaves the Administration” Washington Free Beacon, 10 Feb. 2023, https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/another-biden-official-leaves-the-administration/

1. “Ben LaBolt to replace Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director” CBS News, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ben-labolt-to-replace-kate-bedingfield-as-white-house-communications-director/

2. “Kate Bedingfield to Step Down as White House Communications Director” The Wall Street Journal, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kate-bedingfield-to-step-down-as-white-house-communications-director-294e433b

3. “White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield to leave post at end of month” Washington Examiner, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/bedingfield-labolt

4. “Biden Communications Team Loses Kate Bedingfield, Ben LaBolt To Take Over” Mirage News, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.miragenews.com/biden-communications-team-loses-kate-945426/

5. “Ex-Mark Zuckerberg spox to lead Biden comms team as Bedingfield exits” New York Post , 10 Feb. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/02/10/ex-mark-zuckerberg-spox-to-lead-biden-comms-team-as-bedingfield-exits

6. “Biden adviser Bedingfield to exit W.H., Obama vet LaBolt to join” NBC News, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meetthepressblog/biden-adviser-bedingfield-exit-wh-obama-vet-labolt-join-rcna70039

7. “Obama veteran Ben LaBolt to become White House communications director” The Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/10/obama-veteran-ben-labolt-become-white-house-communications-director/

8. “Kate Bedingfield to leave the White House | News | komu.com” KOMU 8, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.komu.com/news/kate-bedingfield-to-leave-the-white-house/article_c950c8f9-a5e6-5549-86ac-f977a63962d9.html

9. “Kate Bedingfield expected to leave White House soon” KTVZ, 10 Feb. 2023, https://ktvz.com/news/2023/02/10/kate-bedingfield-expected-to-leave-white-house-soon