Former Vice President Joe Biden is naming Susan Rice as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, giving her broad sway over his upcoming administration’s approach to immigration, health care and racial inequality and elevating the prominence of the position in the West Wing.
Rice’s appointment marks a surprising shift for her, a longtime Democratic foreign policy expert who served as National Security Adviser and U.N. ambassador under President Barack Obama’s administration. During her time in the previous administration, she worked closely with Joe Biden in those roles and was on his shortlist to become his running mate during the previous election.
In addition to Susan Rice, Joe Biden is also naming another former Obama official. Denis McDonough, who was Obama’s White House chief of staff, will be named as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a sprawling agency that has presented organizational challenges for both parties over the years.
But he never served in the armed forces, a fact noted by a leading veterans organization.
In selecting Susan Rice and Denis McDonough, Biden is continuing to stockpile his upcoming administration with prominent members of the Obama admin. He will make formal announcements on Friday, along with his nominations of Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative and Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary. Vilsack served the same position under Obama.
“The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in a statement.
“CONFIRMED: President-elect Biden will name former National Security Adviser Susan Rice to head the Domestic Policy Council. Context: The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation which would have been an uphill battle with GOP senators. @axios first reported this.” tweeted Yamiche Alcindor.