Rice, who was previously reported to be under consideration for both vice president and secretary of state, was named to the position on Thursday.
Under the role, Rice would oversee the implementation and coordination of the Biden administration’s domestic policies. News of the appointment came as something of a surprise for those expecting the former national security adviser and UN ambassador to be picked for a more outward-facing role.
Rice, who recently described last month’s election as “our democracy’s near-death experience,” is one of dozens of former Obama staffers whom Biden has summoned from think tank positions to serve in his administration.
She is expected to be actively involved in the Biden administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare, immigration, and racial issues, all of which the Democrat has declared key domestic priorities.
Biden also announced Denis McDonough – Obama’s former chief of staff – as head of Veterans Affairs, continuing his nearly-unbroken streak of mining the former president’s personnel files.
In a rare exception to that pattern, the president-elect named Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio) as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While she was initially under consideration for Secretary of Agriculture, that role instead went to Tom Vilsack, who held the same position for all eight years of Obama’s presidency.
Biden has outfitted his cabinet almost entirely with Obama-era second-stringers. The secretary of state role Rice was originally angling for went to Anthony Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state and assistant national security adviser under Obama. Treasury Secretary pick Janet Yellen led the Federal Reserve during the Obama years, while Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry has been named to a newly-created post as “climate czar.”
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