- President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Susan Rice to head the White House’s Domestic Policy Council.
- Rice, who was national security advisor to former President Barack Obama, has a longstanding relationship with Biden – as do many of Biden’s recent appointments.
- Biden goes way back with his nominated secretary of state Anthony Blinken, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and chief of staff Ron Klain.
- The trend has not gone down well among Biden campaign staffers and other Democratic Party figures. “People are pissed,” one Biden advisor recently told Politico, with another calling it “f—ed up.”
- Representative-elect Mondaire Jones said: “One risk of Joe Biden nominating or otherwise appointing only people with whom he has close relationships is he may miss the moment.”
- Sean Savett, a spokesman for the Biden transition, told Business Insider: “President-elect Biden is building a team of qualified and competent leaders to get things back on track.”
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President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former National Security Advisor Susan Rice to fill a top domestic policy job, with a growing body of Democratic Party figures frustrated with the president-elect’s appointment of old allies.
Biden’s transition team announced that the president-elect had tapped Rice, who served under former President Barack Obama, to head the White House’s Domestic Policy Council on Thursday. Rice has almost exclusively served in foreign-facing, rather than domestic, roles.
She is the latest in a string of officials appointed to top jobs who have longstanding personal relationships to Biden. They include:
- Anthony Blinken, Biden’s nominated secretary of state, who was an aide to Biden and worked with him at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 30 years ago, The New York Times reported.
- Tom Vilsack, nominated to be Biden’s agriculture secretary, “was an early supporter of Biden’s first campaign for president in 1988” and “endorsed Biden a year before the 2020 election and campaigned tirelessly for him in Iowa,” according to the Associated Press.
- Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, the nominated defence secretary, sat next to Biden’s late son Beau Biden in Catholic mass services while serving in Iraq, The Times said, adding: “Austin and the elder Biden would go on to spend hours together in White House Situation Room … developing a level of personal comfort with each other.”
- Jake Sullivan, tapped to be national security advisor, was Biden’s national security advisor when he was vice president,The Washington Post said.
- Ron Klain, who is to be Biden’s chief of staff, has a “decadeslong association with Biden,” according to the AP. Klain served on Biden’s staff in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- John Kerry, Biden’s nominated climate envoy, “is an old Senate buddy,” The Times said.
The trend is not going down well among some Democratic Party figures.
It has been reported that staffers on Biden’s campaign are less than pleased that Obama administration officials are scooping up White House jobs.
“People are pissed,” one Biden advisor told Politico, with another saying it was “f—ed up.”
Mondaire Jones, the representative-elect for New York’s 17th congressional district, told The Times: “One risk of Joe Biden nominating or otherwise appointing only people with whom he has close relationships is he may miss the moment.”
Sean Savett, a spokesman for the Biden transition, told Business Insider: “Amid the crises facing the country, President-Elect Biden is building a team of qualified and competent leaders to get things back on track and advance his bold agenda to build back better.”
“Each of these nominees are forward-thinking, crisis-tested and experienced, and they are ready to quickly use the levers of government to make meaningful differences in the lives of Americans and help govern on day one.”
Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, told The Washington Post that new, diverse candidates were being overlooked in favour of insiders.
“It is shameful that strong, qualified women of colour are allegedly being pushed out of the running for roles they are qualified to fill in order to make room for men with corporate connections,” he said.
Out of the 14 cabinet positions assigned by Biden since winning the November 3 election, seven are women and nine are people of colour.