Joe Biden’s decision to name Susan Rice to head the White House Domestic Policy Council was a surprise given her high profile and because she has spent her entire career in foreign policy.
On the surface, this may appear to be a painful outcome for Rice since she previously was passed over to be Biden’s vice president and his Secretary of State nominee.
But for several reasons, I don’t think this is the case.
Rice and the Biden team know she is strongly disliked by Republicans because of her role in the coverup of the 2011 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
She also was involved in weaponizing intelligence to spy on the Trump campaign and actively promoted the false Trump campaign-Russia collusion narrative.
Her nomination to a confirmable Biden administration post therefore would be controversial and opposed by many Republicans.
If the GOP holds the two Georgia Senate seats in next month’s run-off elections, it probably would be impossible for her to be confirmed to any Biden cabinet position.
Last August, Jim Geraghty and I wrote articles for National Review that spelled out the many reasons Republicans would cite to block her from Senate-confirmed positions.
You can read these articles here, and also here.
Naming Rice to the non-confirmable post of Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council will allow her to work on domestic issues important to Biden such as rebuilding infrastructure, clean energy, education and diversity.
This position also will bring her into the White House where she will probably serve as an informal national security adviser to Biden.
Given Rice’s record in government of not going through channels or staying in her lane, her close access to Biden may put her at odds with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State.
But the main reason Rice was named to this post is to make her available for nomination to a cabinet-level national security post in the future when there is a more favorable political climate.
For now, Biden appears to be avoiding controversy and dealing with a Republican Senate. He knows the balance of power in the Senate could significantly change in 2022 when Republicans must defend 22 seats to the Democrats’ 13.
This means Rice probably plans to bide her time in her new White House post, hoping that a strongly Democratic Senate in 2023 will allow Biden to nominate her to be Secretary of State or to another cabinet post.
Fred Fleitz, president of the Center for Security Policy, served in 2018 as deputy assistant to the president and to the chief of staff of the National Security Council. He previously held national-security jobs with the CIA, the DIA, the Department of State, and the House Intelligence Committee. Twitter: @fredfleitz. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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