Jen O’Malley Dillon, who served as President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign manager and is slated to serve as his deputy chief of staff in the White House, defended his willingness to work with Republicans, telling Glamour in an interview, “I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f–kers.”
“The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity,” O’Malley Dillon said in the interview, which was published Tuesday. “In the primary, people would mock him, like, ‘You think you can work with Republicans?’
“I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f–kers,” she clarified, saying that she believed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was “terrible” and adding, “From start to finish, he set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too.”
The 44-year-old O’Malley Dillon served as the campaign manager for former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D) short-lived 2020 presidential campaign before serving in the same position for Biden.
Despite his inauguration being more than a month away, Biden has faced criticism from progressives who have argued that some of his staffing choices have been too moderate. Those picks have included Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), who is set to lead the White House Office of Public Engagement, and retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, Biden’s tentative pick for defense secretary.
O’Malley Dillon advised progressives upset with the prospect of Biden working with Republicans to accept that it was a more effective approach. “Like Joe Biden says all the time, ‘Great leadership starts with listening,’” she said. “It’s challenging for us to do that right now, because of how polarized we are. But politics breaks down to one-on-one conversations and not being afraid to talk. I get that you’re not supposed to talk politics at the holiday dinner. Well, f–k that. It’s because we don’t do that that we are in this situation now.
“I also think, as in love, compromise is a good thing,” she added. “The atmosphere in the world now is like, ‘Oh, if you compromise, you don’t believe in something.’ No, it’s ‘I believe in it so much that I’m going to work to find a path we can both go down together.’ That feels to me like the heart of relationships and love and success across the board.”
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]