Biden sending senior West Wing aides to oversee reelection campaign

President Biden is dispatching two of his senior-most West Wing aides to help oversee his reelection campaign in Delaware, multiple people familiar with the plans tell CBS News.

Mike Donilon, the president’s longtime speechwriter, and Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who ran Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign, will leave their senior positions at the White House and turn their attention full time to the reelection campaign. The New York Times first reported their move to the campaign. 

The president’s campaign said Donilon “is expected to play a central role in the campaign’s messaging and paid media strategy,” while O’Malley Dillon will focus on “organizing and execution of the campaign’s path to 270 electoral votes — all under the leadership of campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.”

Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that “we’re thrilled to have their leadership and strategic prowess focused full-time on sending them back to the White House for four more years.”

In a statement, Mr. Biden praised Donilon and O’Malley Dillion as having “served with dedication and purpose as we have delivered on a historic recovery.” Mr. Biden’s statement noted that Donilon has been part of his team since 1981, while O’Malley Dillion has “played a key role in every Democratic presidential victory over the past two decades.”    

Former campaign manager and deputy White House chief of staff to Barack Obama Jim Messina called the decision a “smart move” by Mr. Biden and Chavez Rodriguez and said that “having additional top political aides focus full-time on the reelect is exactly what you’d expect the White House to do as the general election matchup comes into focus.

Campaign officials insisted Tuesday night Chavez Rodriguez is not being replaced as head of the campaign and will continue to oversee day-to-day operations across the country. They noted incumbent presidents typically launch their reelection campaigns with a skeleton staff and add senior staffers or aides closer to the president as Election Day nears. 

But Biden-Harris campaign allies closely tracking the contours of the campaign operation said Chavez Rodriguez will now serve as manager in name only, with the biggest, most critical strategic decisions made instead by Donilon and O’Malley Dillon, who are more personally close to and familiar with the president’s thinking. 

Quentin Fulks, the Biden-Harris principal deputy campaign manager, is also staying put and will continue to oversee operations and serve as a lead surrogate on television.

Nancy Cordes contributed to this report. 

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