After President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last year, White House chief of staff and the administration's resident Twitter addict Ron Klain joined a confab of journalists on Twitter Spaces to discuss the speech. When a reporter asked Klain, in response to Biden’s poor approval ratings, whether he thought they were having trouble getting their message out, Klain responded, “Well, I’m doing Twitter Spaces, aren’t I?”

It was a perfect demonstration of how Klain had taken to guiding administration policy in accordance with the whims of Twitter. Klain’s social media addiction became so notorious...

After President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last year, White House chief of staff and the administration’s resident Twitter addict Ron Klain joined a confab of journalists on Twitter Spaces to discuss the speech. When a reporter asked Klain, in response to Biden’s poor approval ratings, whether he thought they were having trouble getting their message out, Klain responded, “Well, I’m doing Twitter Spaces, aren’t I?”

It was a perfect demonstration of how Klain had taken to guiding administration policy in accordance with the whims of Twitter. Klain’s social media addiction became so notorious that an independent account titled “Klain’s Likes” became an instant follow for journalists and opinion columnists, many of whom were thirsty for the sweet, sweet endorphin release of a Klain retweet.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot and Chris Cillizza were among the select group in Klain’s Twitter fan club. They knew that Klain’s online approval was a direct line to the Oval Office — and with Biden acting as a three-day-a-week part time president, Klain was effectively in charge of setting the agenda.

While Klain was in power, the Biden administration was effectively governed by Twitter’s most frequent posters and the tropes pushed by the journalists among them, such as the false accusations that border agents were whipping migrants on horseback. The White House foregrounded gender equity and DEI initiatives thanks to Twitterbrain, even if those things didn’t do much to lower the price of groceries.

Impressively, the Biden administration has  managed to be way more online than the previous one, with Klain acting as a media feedback loop. Klain fed White House talking points to journalists. Journalists repeated White House talking points. Klain retweeted journalists repeating White House talking points. Achievement unlocked!

Klain also finds himself turning over his @WHCOS account as a classified document scandal threatens Biden’s re-election plans. He no doubt sees choppy waters ahead for the eighty-year-old president and so may decide to take the inevitable job offer coming his way to flack from an MSNBC desk.

Yet if anyone thinks the Biden administration is set to become more professional and less social-media addled without Klain, they would be mistaken. Klain was replaced by Jeff Zients, an alum of the Biden transition team, the Obama administration and Bain Capital. While Zients is much less likely to find himself swiveling in the Oval Office chair humming “Hail to the Chief” while answering Twitter DMs, he does come straight from Meta’s board. Zients was also Biden’s Covid response director and notoriously kept travel lockdowns in place despite several requests from European nations to open up. (He’s also another cis white man — and surely that’s problematic.)

Klain’s imprint on the Biden presidency is undeniable, with tweets and retweets several times a day every day since his swearing in. With him gone, there will undoubtedly be a fight behind the scenes to see who becomes acting president. Is Klain stepping down from his job to spend more time with his Twitter account? Is that even possible?