President Joe Biden’s communications director, Kate Bedingfield, is leaving the White House, marking another departure of a high-ranking communications official ahead of the midterm elections.
Bedingfield, who is set to leave in a matter of weeks, has begun informing colleagues of her departure, a senior administration official told POLITICO.
Her exit comes on the heels of Jen Psaki’s decision to step down as press secretary and during a period of internal uncertainty over the structure and makeup of the White House’s larger press operations. In addition to Psaki, a number of mid- and lower-level press aides have left in the past two months.
Democrats have grown openly critical of the Biden team’s communications strategy in recent weeks and months. Longtime Biden aide Anita Dunn recently returned to the White House as a senior adviser and has been working to shore up the operation.
Bedingfield is a longtime Biden aide who helped steer the campaign through the difficult primary contest. She served in a similar capacity for Biden when he was vice president in 2015 and was his deputy campaign manager and communications director during his 2020 run. She has largely operated behind the scenes with relationships throughout the Democratic Party.
As Psaki’s exit neared, Bedingfield took on an increasingly public-facing role, including hosting the daily press briefings when Psaki and Karine Jean-Pierre both had Covid-19.
Her smoothness in that role led to chatter that she would be in line for the press secretary post, even though it would represent a demotion. The gig ultimately went to Psaki’s top deputy, Jean-Pierre.
After the news broke of Bedingfield’s departure, senior administration officials weighed in on the impact the aide has had in shaping the administration in past years, as well as her influence on recent national events.
“Without Kate Bedingfield’s talent and tenacity, Donald Trump might still be in the White House, the Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Law might still be unrealized goals, and Ketanji Brown Jackson might not be sitting on the Supreme Court,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in a statement. “She has played a huge role in everything the President has achieved.”
Klain noted that the communications director would “remain a critical player” in Biden’s network, working from the outside.
Bedingfield plans to spend time with her husband and young children after she steps down in late July, the statement said. The departure marks the end of her three-year tenure leading Biden’s communications team.
Matt Berg contributed to this report.