Biden Recruits Veteran Policy Adviser Susan Rice: “We All Rise or Fall Together”

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President-Elect Joe Biden appointed Ambassador Susan Rice to serve as director of the Domestic Policy Council in his administration, alongside four other domestic nominees, on Friday, Dec. 11.

Rice, who has served in policy roles under multiple administrations, spoke alongside Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to accept her nomination. 

“Today we confront a profoundly connected set of crises: a relentless pandemic, a struggling economy, urgent demands for racial equity and justice, a climate in need of healing, a democracy in need to repair, and a world in need of renewed American leadership. In the 21st century, our foreign economic and domestic imperatives are deeply intertwined,” Rice began. “Tackling these challenges is personal to me. I am a descendant of immigrants and the enslaved, and service is in our blood.” 

Rice discussed her paternal family’s journey from slaves to soldiers, and her maternal grandmother’s immigration to the U.S. from Jamaica.

“But today, for far too many, the American dream has become an empty promise, a cruel mockery of lives held back by barriers, new and old. That is not good enough for any American. But we know that, throughout our history, Americans have forged opportunity out of crisis,” Rice said. “Now, at the foot of yet another bridge between crisis and opportunity, I’m honored and excited to take on this role… I profoundly believe that we all rise or fall together. Absolutely all of us.”

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Under the Obama administration, Rice held the position of national security adviser, as well as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, she was U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, among other key national security roles. 

Prior to the beginning of Biden’s administration, Rice was co-chair of D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser’s Reopen D.C. Advisory Commission, working to oversee Washington D.C.’s safe reopening in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In introducing Rice on Friday, Biden admitted that he “spent some time convincing this wonderful public servant,” but is ecstatic for her to return to the federal government come Jan. 20, 2021.

“A granddaughter of immigrants, a descendant of enslaved people, Susan will be an effective and tireless champion for all Americans,” Biden said. “And she knows I’m really thrilled she was willing to come back, be at my side in the White House.”

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.