Politics & Government

Obama taps former longtime aide as Ebola czar

President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Oct. 6, 2014, in the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Oct. 6, 2014, in the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP

President Barack Obama will tap a former longtime top-level aide Ron Klain to coordinate the administration’s response to the Ebola virus, according to the White House.

Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, will report directly to Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

He is charged with protecting the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country without distracting from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa.

Obama has been criticized for its response to Ebola in the United States -- specifically in terms of how prepared hospitals and health care workers have been for potential Ebola patients and failing to call a travel ban from West Africa.

Obama told reporters Thursday night that up until that point administration officials had been “doing an outstanding job” in dealing with what the complicated and fluid situation.

“It’s not that they haven't been doing an outstanding job really working hard on this issue, but they also are responsible for a whole bunch of other stuff,” he said. “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s going forward.”

Klain, an attorney, has federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with lawmakers and senior Obama administration officials, according to the White House. He is president of Case Holdings and general counsel of Revolution, an investment group.

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