Bedingfield Leaving Biden Communications Team, This Time for Real

February 10, 2023 by Dan McCue
Bedingfield Leaving Biden Communications Team, This Time for Real
Kate Bedingfield (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — Kate Bedingfield, who announced last summer she was stepping down as White House communications director, only to be talked into staying by the president himself, revealed Friday she actually is leaving the post at the end of February.

Bedingfield, a longtime aide to Joe Biden, who has served as White House communications director since his inauguration as president, is being succeeded by Ben LaBolt who worked with Biden in the Obama White House and more recently aided in the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

In July 2022, Bedingfield said she was leaving to spend more time with her husband and young children.

Hers is the second high-profile departure from the White House in the past two weeks. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain announced his departure in late January and he was succeeded by Jeff Zients, the administration’s former COVID-19 response coordinator, earlier this week.

Prior to assuming her White House role, Bedingfield served as then-Vice President Biden’s communications director in 2015-2016 and then as deputy campaign manager for his successful 2020 presidential race. 

Earlier still, Bedingfield held three White House communications leadership roles during the Obama-Biden administration: associate communications director, deputy director of media affairs and director of rapid response. 

She was also the vice president of communications for the Motion Picture Association of America, vice president of communications at Monumental Sports and Entertainment and the director of communications for Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2008. 

“Since my time as vice president, Kate has been a loyal and trusted adviser, through thick and thin,” Biden said in a written statement. “She was a critical strategic voice from the very first day of my presidential campaign in 2019 and has been a key part of advancing my agenda in the White House. 

“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,” the president said.

LaBolt, who will be the first openly gay White House communications director, has served on three presidential campaigns, including as a senior national spokesperson for Obama-Biden in 2008 and as the Obama-Biden national press secretary in 2012. 

He also has congressional experience in both chambers, as the communications director for Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s first election to the Senate in 2006, the press secretary for Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and in 2007 the Senate press secretary for then-Sen. Barack Obama.

He currently leads a communications and marketing agency with over 200 staff and offices across the country that specializes in integrating strategic communications and digital marketing strategies to reach and persuade people on the platforms where they consume information. 

LaBolt is a native of La Grange, Illinois, and an alumnus of Middlebury College. 

“Ben has big shoes to fill,” Biden said on Friday. “I look forward to welcoming him back as a first-rate communicator who’s shown his commitment to public service again and again, and who has a cutting-edge understanding of how Americans consume information.

“I saw him fight for Justice Jackson, and he put his all into helping us make history confirming our cabinet and sub-cabinet nominees. I’m proud to have him rejoin this team,” the president said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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