Biden picks Obama-era Susan Rice for domestic policy role

US President-elect Joe Biden announced several administration nominations Thursday, including Obama-era officials such as former national security adviser Susan Rice as White House Domestic Policy Council director and ex-chief of staff Denis McDonough as veterans affairs secretary.

The diverse nominations and appointments were laid out in a statement from Biden’s presidential transition team.

Rice had been a contender for secretary of state, but she was expected to face intense opposition from Republicans in the Senate confirmation process over her role in the Benghazi crisis of 2012, and that prestigious cabinet role went to close Biden adviser Antony Blinken.

Heading the Domestic Policy Council will assure Rice, 56, gets into the president-elect’s White House inner circle, but it may be seen as a surprise appointment given her experience in foreign policy. The position does not need confirmation from the Senate.

McDonough, who served multiple roles in Barack Obama’s administration, has been nominated to lead a veterans agency plagued by scandal in recent years, while Tom Vilsack, Obama’s secretary of agriculture for two full terms, has been nominated to that same role under Biden.

The president-elect also chose international trade expert Katherine Tai to be the US trade representative and congresswoman Marcia Fudge to serve as secretary of housing and urban development.

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