Biden selects Susan Rice to lead Domestic Policy Council, McDonough for Veterans Affairs

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE has selected Susan Rice, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council, and is nominating Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Overnight Defense: Supreme Court declines to hear suit challenging male-only draft | Drone refuels Navy fighter jet for the first time | NATO chief meets with Austin, Biden Biden's no-drama White House chief MORE as secretary of Veterans Affairs, the transition announced on Thursday.

“The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in the statement.

Rice also previously served as national security adviser during the Obama administration, and will now direct the Domestic Policy Council, a unit with broad purview over Biden's domestic agenda, including health, immigration and education policy. The role does not require Senate confirmation.


McDonough, who served as deputy national security adviser and later White House chief of staff under former President Obama, will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in order to lead the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs, an agency that has for years attracted public scrutiny as a result of management issues.

McDonough received swift praise from Democrats. Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedGillibrand: Military must make changes beyond sexual assault cases Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Biden taps tech CEO, former destroyer commander to lead Navy MORE (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called McDonough an “outstanding pick to lead the VA.”

“Denis is a principled, professional patriot and a great supporter of veterans. A former White House Chief of Staff, he is a distinguished public servant who brings the experience, skill, and leadership to be effective in this new post,” Reed said in a statement.

McDonough’s appointment came as a relative surprise. Others in the mix for the position included Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTaiwan reports incursion by dozens of Chinese warplanes Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE (D-Ill.) and Bob McDonald, the former VA secretary under Obama. McDonough will be only the second non-veteran to hold the post if he is confirmed, after David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinBiden's nominee for VA secretary isn't a veteran — does it matter? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal A crisis that unites veterans MORE, who served as President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE’s first VA secretary.

Biden also officially announced other appointments and nominations, including Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike On The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race MORE (D-Ohio) as his nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Katherine Tai, a trade lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee, as his nominee for U.S. trade representative; and Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE as his nominee to serve as secretary of Agriculture, a role that Vilsack will reprise from his time serving in the Obama administration. 


The announcements of Rice and McDonough in particular underscore the degree to which Biden is leaning on officials with deep experience who worked with one another during the Obama administration.

Rice had also been viewed as a leading contender for Biden's secretary of State, a nomination that ultimately went to Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US The Senate just passed the next Apollo program Young Turks founder on Democratic establishment: 'They lie nonstop' MORE, a longtime adviser with deep foreign policy experience who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. Rice was also viewed as a potential running mate for Biden before his selection of Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation Watch live: Harris delivers remarks on vaccination efforts Biden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' MORE (D-Calif.), who is now vice president-elect. 

Biden has periodically announced members of his White House staff and intended Cabinet, beginning with his national security and economic teams. This week he announced his health team, including his nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraSanders 'delighted' DeSantis asked White House to import Canadian prescription drugs Feehery: It's for the children New Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing MORE (D).

On Wednesday, Biden introduced retired Army Gen. Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Pentagon pulling 'certain forces and capabilities,' including air defenses, from Middle East US officials: Iranian ships changing course away from Venezuela MORE as his nominee for Defense secretary, thought there are questions over his ability to be confirmed due to his need for a waiver to serve in what is considered a civilian position.

Biden has been under tremendous pressure to appoint women and people of color to top roles in his White House and Cabinet. Tai would be the first Asian American and first woman of color to serve as U.S. trade representative if she is confirmed. 


There are a handful of Cabinet positions and top roles Biden has yet to fill, most prominent among them attorney general and CIA director. Biden is said to be considering outgoing Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D), federal appeals court Judge Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandHouse Judiciary asks DOJ to disclose remaining gag orders The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Biden frustrates death penalty opponents with Supreme Court request MORE, former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesSally Yates: I never thought that I'd be saying, 'Yeah, go Liz Cheney' ABC lands first one-on-one TV interview with Garland since confirmation Appointing a credible, non-partisan Jan. 6 commission should not be difficult MORE and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court sides with oil companies in Baltimore case| White House environmental justice advisers express opposition to nuclear, carbon capture projects | Biden administration to develop performance standards for federal buildings Approving Kristen Clarke's nomination should be a no-brainer To unite America, Biden administration must brace for hate MORE (D) as candidates to lead the Justice Department. 

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to refuse to concede the election despite unsuccessful efforts in court to challenge voting procedures.

Trump has falsely claimed he won the election and that it was "rigged" against him, despite a lack of evidence supporting his assertions of widespread voter fraud. Despite the lack of proof, Trump suggested on Twitter Thursday morning that Biden would be an "illegitimate president," a tweet that was marked as containing disputed information.

Updated at 4:11 p.m.