Ron Klain had a small boulder to cry on as he delivered a farewell address marking his exit as White House chief of staff.
At an event Wednesday in the East Room, Klain choked up as he talked about the “best job” he ever had, standing next to his boss President Joe Biden. Klain got emotional throughout his remarks, and toward the end, held up a small souvenir rock in his hand and tearfully explained its significance to him.
“This plain and simple rock was given to me a year ago on one of our darker days — by Louisa Terrell,” Klain said, referring to the head of White House legislative affairs.
Ron Klain breaks down sobbing as he recalls being given a rock by a White House staffer:
“It’s always symbolized to me… that this team has been rock solid.” pic.twitter.com/Dfi84a6O1g
— Addison Smith (@AddisonSmithOAN) February 2, 2023
“And it’s always symbolized to me the fact that this team has been rock solid in their support of our agenda and the president,” he added. “We’ve never wavered. We’ve been as solid as a rock. And so I ask you today to continue to play that role. I ask each and every one of you to continue your jobs as the rock of this White House, this administration, and this presidency. That’s our mission.”
Klain then introduced his successor as chief of staff, Jeff Zients, before giving Biden a hug while those in attendance applauded.
Earlier in the event, the president introduced Klain by sharing how they have been working together for decades, stretching back to when Biden was a senator.
Happening Now: President Biden hosts an official transition event to thank Chief of Staff Ron Klain for his tireless work and officially welcome Jeff Zients back to the White House in this role. https://t.co/NJeCzPJ5T8
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 1, 2023
“I knew the moment he started, he was a once-in-a-generation talent. And that’s not hyperbole,” Biden said. “He’s a fiercely brilliant intellect. And again, those of you who work with him know it to be true. And just as important, he has a heart as big as his head,” he added, prompting a round of laughter.
During his remarks, Klain expressed effusive praise for Biden and touted a number of accomplishments. “I learned everything I know about how to be a good father from Joe Biden,” he said. “He’s the best father I know and the best role model I know.”