WASHINGTON — Cedric Richmond, a top aide to President Joe Biden, plans to resign and take on a new role at the Democratic National Committee early next month, a White House official confirmed Monday.
Richmond, the director of the Office of Public Engagement, would be the highest-ranking Biden aide to leave since the president took office.
He will become a senior adviser at the DNC, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“Richmond will travel the country to help the DNC team raise the additional resources we need to do even more and act as a national surrogate to help communicate our message on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, the president and vice president,” the official said.
Those are some of the major responsibilities of DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison, who has chafed at the authority White House aides wield over him. Harrison became so frustrated at one point that he considered resigning.
But in a statement provided by the White House, Harrison welcomed the news of Richmond’s expected arrival.
“We look forward to having Cedric join our already strong team as we continue to work in close partnership with the White House, and our sister committees to protect and expand our Democratic majorities,” Harrison said.
NBC News reported on Richmond’s planned departure earlier Monday, citing four people familiar with discussions about his future.
Richmond, who played golf with Biden on Sunday, has long considered a departure from the White House and a possible assignment at the DNC. Friends say he wants to spend more time with his family in New Orleans and have the freedom to earn more than the $180,000 salary cap for White House aides.
One reason the decision took some time, according to one of the four sources, is that the White House is trying to avoid the perception that Harrison is being “layered” — retaining his title but poised to lose power.
“The President and Chair Harrison are working hand-in-hand to build a strong Democratic Party and deliver our message to the American people and supporting Democrats,” Richmond said in a statement Monday. “I look forward to working in partnership with Jaime and the talented and hard-working crew at the DNC to amplify the White House’s message as we head toward the midterms.”
The specifics of Richmond’s DNC role have been under negotiation, according to the sources. One source said it is likely to be as a “consultant — not day to day.” A second source said it would be in an “advisory” post focused on the November midterm elections.
Richmond is expected to move as Democratic anxiety is growing about the midterms and Biden’s waning chances to enact his legislative agenda.
Few people in politics are closer to Biden than Richmond, who was co-chairman of his 2020 presidential campaign. Biden appreciates the electoral politics skills Richmond developed during a decade representing New Orleans in the House, according to people who worked on the campaign and in the White House.
Moving Richmond to the DNC may signal to lawmakers that Biden takes the threat of a Republican takeover of Congress seriously. At the same time, Richmond’s relationships with Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and senior administration officials would keep him in the White House loop.
“Cedric Richmond will still have access,” a party official said.
Adrian Saenz, Richmond’s deputy at the White House, could be in line to take over as director of the Office of Public Engagement. Saenz is a former Obama administration official and Capitol Hill aide.
In recent months, Harrison has ramped up donor meetings, and the DNC has broken monthly fundraising records. That fell just short of the Republican National Committee, which reported out-raising the DNC in the first three months of the year, with less cash on hand.
“It’s a sign that the president is going to get on the road more and do more engagement politically,” a source close to Richmond said.
Shannon Pettypiece contributed.