Kate Bedingfield, a top adviser for President Biden since 2015, will step down as White House communications director later this month, NBC News has learned. And Ben LaBolt, a veteran of the Obama administration who worked on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, will step into the role.
Bedingfield is the latest member of Biden’s core group of advisers to depart the West Wing ahead of the president’s expected 2024 campaign launch. She had initially announced her intention to leave the administration last summer before deciding to remain on board through the midterm elections.
Bedingfield entered Biden’s orbit in 2015 as he was still considering whether to join the 2016 presidential field. She continued as an informal adviser when he left office in 2017, before serving as deputy campaign manager for his 2020 run and then taking the communication director post after his inauguration.
Among Biden’s tight-knit campaign team, she earned the monicker of captain of the “team of killers,” a reference to the assessment of Biden’s campaign team by then-President Donald Trump. She is likely to serve as a consultant for Biden’s re-election campaign if he runs, according to a source familiar with the matter.
LaBolt served as a spokesperson for then-Sen. Barack Obama in Congress and later joined his 2008 campaign team. After serving as a White House spokesperson during Obama’s first term, he served as chief spokesperson for Obama’s re-election campaign. He comes to the White House after serving as a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic consulting firm, a position from which he briefly took leave last year to serve as a communications adviser for the confirmation of Biden’s first Supreme Court pick.
In a statement, Biden called Bedingfield “a loyal and trusted adviser, through thick and thin.”
“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. Ben has big shoes to fill,” Biden said.
LaBolt will be the first openly gay person to serve as White House communications director. He assumes the post at a critical point as Biden reorients his administration at a time of divided government, a looming campaign and a legal cloud of uncertainty as a special counsel investigates Biden’s handling of classified documents.