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Vice President Biden’s “Bodyman” and Close Confidant is Leaving

Stephen Goepfert is one of the few White House aides who has spent more time by the side of Vice President Joe Biden over the past three years. If there are any others, they are few and far between. After this week, that will no longer be the case.

It will mark the departure of a key cog on Biden’s team, as Goepfert, Biden’s personal aide, is set to leave the White House for a role at the Transportation Department.

Goepfert has been by the President’s side at every major moment since the first months of his 2020 presidential campaign. Goepfert has been with the President at every major moment since the first months of his 2020 presidential campaign.

Stephen Goepfert has been by my side throughout the entire process, from the campaign to the White House, Vice President Biden said in a statement.

When things were huge, when they were tiny, and when they were remarkable, he was a valued and devoted confidant who everyone counted on and who always delivered.

We will miss Stephen, but we are proud that he will continue to serve the American people in his new role in the Biden-Harris administration as he continues his career in public service. Jill and I will miss Stephen.

Goepfert’s tenure as Biden’s “body man” was marked by a keen understanding of the cadence and details, both large and small, that drive a man who has been a public official for more than four decades, according to senior advisers.

Goepfert is the first White House staffer Biden sees most mornings, and he is the last he sees nearly every night. Goepfert is the first White House staffer Biden sees most morning

Even though most people aren’t familiar with his name, it’s impossible to miss Goepfert because he’s the one with the beard in virtually every photo of Joe Biden and his staff.

He’s also the one who appears on television before major speeches by Biden to place prepared remarks on the podium, and he’s the one who sneaks away during public events to give Biden a note.

Jacob Sprayer, who is presently working as the official White House receptionist, will take over for Goepfert as the position’s successor.

In every White House, the role itself is extremely time-consuming. It is firmly situated at the intersection of the president’s public and private lives, and it carries with it the expectation that the president will be physically present almost all of the time, whether at the White House, on international trips, or, in the case of Goepfert, during Biden’s customary trips to his homes in Delaware on the weekends.

According to Ron Klain, the chief of staff of the White House, “I have worked with and seen many body people over the years, and Stephen is at the top of the list.”

“It’s a difficult and exhausting job, and no one has ever done it with the competence, generosity, and warmth that he has,” said one person.

The length of Vice President Biden’s career brought with it a group of senior advisers who had long tenures and were fiercely loyal. Many of these individuals joined him inside the West Wing.

This group eventually began to see Goepfert as an integral part of Biden’s day-to-day life as well as a reliable and trustworthy advisor in his own right.

According to Steve Ricchetti, a former assistant and confidant of Joe Biden who currently serves as a counsellor to the President, “You’re actually at the border of where the President’s personal and public duties lie – you have to have the right touch and appropriate skill set.”

“Throughout the day, Stephen has demonstrated both the skill and the willingness to assist the President in navigating everything that he has done.” That turns out to be a very important part.

The unprecedented challenge of holding the role on a presidential campaign amid a once-in-a-century pandemic — a public health crisis that largely limited Biden to his home in Wilmington, Delaware for months — accelerated Goepfert’s ascent into Biden’s inner sanctum, which led to his rapid ascent up the ranks of the vice president’s inner circle.


Because of the covid safeguards, Biden and his staff were only able to communicate with each other remotely for practically the entirety of his campaign.

Goepfert was the one who was physically present to assist in setting up those Zoom sessions, media interviews, adjusting speeches and remarks, connecting donor calls, putting up the briefing book, and finalising memoranda.

And, as stated by Annie Tomasini, one of the only other aides who had regular physical access to Biden, do pretty much anything else that was required during the most crucial moments of the campaign.

“You name it, Stephen did it,” said Tomasini, who has worked with Biden for more than a decade and is now the director of Oval Office Operations in the White House. “You name it, Stephen did it.” “I don’t believe that people can fully comprehend the pressures that he is under.”

Goepfert’s efforts were well received by senior members of Biden’s team, as well as by Biden himself, a politician who, according to those who are particularly close to him and have known him for a long time, is energised and animated by personal connection, which is something that is sorely lacking in his pandemic environment.

It wasn’t long before advisors realised that Goepfert was the one who was finding supporters, sometimes by chance during the day and other times through letters sent to the candidate at the time, and then tracking down their phone numbers so that Biden could call them and maintain a connection.

According to Tomasini, the President’s chief of staff, “He understands that the President wants — and that he is at his best — when he is with the American people.”

It was a practice that he continued when Biden started to venture out in the later period of the campaign, ensuring that the tried-and-true practice of photo lines dominated by politicians and donors included families that had sent letters to Biden. It was a practice that he continued when Biden started to venture out in the later period of the campaign.

According to Ricchetti remarked, “There is nothing that Vice President Biden appreciates more than an authentic human relationship with those who he encounters along the route.”

“As an indication of who the President is, how his personal aide treats other people working beside him is of fundamental importance, and Stephen is just outstanding at that,”

The beginning of Goepfert’s journey to become a member of Biden’s staff can be traced back to the Obama White House, where he worked as a deputy director in the Office of Presidential Correspondence.

It was then that Ricchetti, who served as the chief of staff to Vice President Biden at the time, took notice of Ricchetti’s writing abilities as well as his personal nature, and he brought Ricchetti on board to work as his senior adviser.

Ricchetti believed that Goepfert, who he described as having a sharp sense of the ins and outs of how a White House operates from his tenure in the Obama administration, would be a perfect fit when Biden’s former personal aide left the campaign and the campaign was looking for a replacement. Goepfert is now working for the Biden for President campaign.

Goepfert would stay in his position when Biden entered office in January 2021, making him the first openly gay personal assistant to a president in the United States.

Goepfert has reportedly discussed this “first” with Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary at the White House. Jean-Pierre is the first openly LGBTQ person to hold her position.

Jean-Pierre stated that “Representation mattered,” and that this was very important to him.

It is a close friendship that allowed for some lightness and perspective during some of the most stressful events that occurred over the first 19 months of Biden’s time serving as Vice President.

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Tomasini told how, during a particularly high-stakes occasion during a trip abroad, he and Biden, along with his bodyguard, had to remain silent while riding in the presidential motorcade.

Goepfert took a look around and realised that they had come a very long way since the days in Wilmington when the three of them had crammed into Goepfert’s car in a haste to make a train for a campaign trip. Goepfert noted this as he looked around the area.

Biden let out a chuckle at the very idea.

Tomasini remarked that the individual possesses “a wonderful humbleness that is just a real asset.”

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