US President-elect Joe Biden announced the selection of some officials to occupy positions in his administration, including personalities from the era of President Barack Obama, such as Susan Rice, who was chosen for the position of internal policy advisor in the White House, and former chief of staff Dennis McDonough, who nominated him as Minister of Veterans Affairs.
These appointments reveal the diversity Biden wishes to bring to his administration.
Biden (78 years) said in a statement, “This is the right team for this moment in history, and I know that each of these officials will begin work on the first day to confront the interconnected crises that families face today.”
Susan Rice (56 years), a black woman, was a candidate for the State Department. But it was expected that she would face strong opposition from Republicans during the Senate’s confirmation procedures because of her role in the Benghazi crisis in 2012. Biden appointed to this position his advisor Anthony Blinken.
The Biden team wrote in a statement that the former national security advisor to Barack Obama “is one of the most seasoned and experienced government officials in our country.” She previously served as the US ambassador to the United Nations.
As chair of the Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice will be in the president-elect’s inner circle in the White House. She will influence key elements of Biden’s “Build Back Better” program amid the COVID-19 pandemic and ethnic tension.
But this appointment may seem surprising, given her foreign policy experience. The position, which Rice said in a tweet that she is “excited” to fill, does not require Senate approval.
As for McDonough (51 years), he held several positions in the Obama administration, including the White House staff and deputy national security advisor. He was nominated to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is charged with managing a health care network for nearly millions of registered veterans.
McDonough promised in a tweet, “to represent the voices of all veterans at every level on every issue every day.”
Biden is to announce the appointments at a rally in Wilmington, Delaware, Friday.
Biden is visiting Georgia.
Biden stressed several times that his presidency would not be a third term for Obama, although the appointments announced Thursday indicate his great association with his Democratic predecessor.
Biden chose Tom Vilsack, 69, the Minister of Agriculture under Obama during his two full terms, for the same position essential in dealing with the Covid-19 epidemic. It helps the ministry feed millions of Americans in need.
This position appears to have been a tug of war in recent weeks, with progressive Congressman Marcia Fudge, a leading candidate. Instead, Fudge has been selected as the housing and urban development minister when the outbreak threatens to force tenants to evacuate.
Biden chose international trade expert Kathryn Tay as the United States’ commercial representative. Tai, who is currently the chief commercial attorney on the House Ways and Means Committee, will be the first Asian American and the first woman of color to do so in the United States.
Biden’s team indicated that, if confirmed by Tay, she would be “the first Asian American woman” to hold the position by the Senate.
The transition team confirmed that Biden would travel to Georgia on Tuesday to support two Democratic candidates in the contested run-off election, which will determine which of the two parties will control the Senate.
His visit coincides with the start of early voting Monday, for the elections to be held on the fifth of January.
And competing in this election, former journalist John Osoff with Republican Senator David Purdue, Raphael Warnock, a pastor in one of the most prominent black churches in the United States with Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.
And if the two senators lose, the majority in the Senate will pass to the Democrats because, with equal seats (50 for each side), incoming Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to vote and decide according to the constitution. This will allow Biden, who takes office on January 20, to deal with a Democratic Congress.
But if Republicans retain the majority of the Senate seats, then the next president will have to deal with a divided Congress, and the Republicans will be able to block his nominations for government officials and important bills.
Bill Stepin, responsible for Donald Trump’s campaign, warned in a statement that “Joe Biden’s trip to Georgia next week proves that the Democrats are taking the Senate by-elections seriously, and the Republicans should do the same.”
Biden had narrowly won the presidency in Georgia.
President Donald Trump has contested the result and has made repeated accusations that the election was marked by “widespread fraud” that helped Biden win in Georgia and elsewhere.
But no evidence has emerged to support such claims.