Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice hinted at a possible Joe Biden administration role while touting the former vice president’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate and saying she is committed helping him govern “in any way he’d like.”
During an interview on NBC News’ “TODAY,” Rice applauded Biden’s decision to tap Harris, the Democratic senator from California and former 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, as a “great choice,” calling her a “tremendous running mate.”
“I’m glad that I’m going to be able to support them and do my utmost to elect Biden-Harris and help them govern when the time comes,” Rice said, seemingly hinting at a possible role in a potential Biden-Harris administration.
Rice was said to be on the shortlist of potential running mates the Biden campaign was considering, with some reports even suggesting she made it to the final round.
When asked if she was disappointed she was cast to the side, Rice replied: “I am happy to have been part of this process. I’m honored and humbled to be among an extraordinary group of women who were considered.”
She added: “I’ll do everything I possibly can to help Joe Biden become the next president of the United States and to help him to succeed in governing in whatever form or fashion he wants.”
When pressed on whether Biden, upon delivering the news of his Harris pick, promised her a different role in the administration, Rice said: “I’ll let Joe Biden answer that question, but let me say — I’m proud to serve him in any way he’d like.”
“I’m ready to serve,” Rice said. “I’m excited about this.”
Meanwhile, Rice responded to attacks on Harris’ record from the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, which have called her “phony” and cast her views as radical and a reflection of Biden’s “extreme agenda.”
“Joe Biden is at the top of the ticket,” she said. “I think they’re very compatible and their positions are very close to one another. … Let them hurl their baseless attacks. It’s all they’ve got.”
She added that Harris has a “track record” and has been “quite clear.”
“She will be on this ticket supporting Joe Biden,” she explained. “Joe Biden’s policy positions are the ones we’re all committed to supporting.”
She added: “Their perspectives are highly compatible.”
Meanwhile, Rice touted Biden’s “historic” choice of picking the first Black female running mate for a major party, saying it is a “moment to celebrate.”
“This ticket is gonna win, and yes there will be those who employ racism and sexism,” she said. “And those who will use divisiveness and Donald Trump exemplifies it.”
She added: “I believe this nation is ready. We’re going to bust through these barriers. It’s time, and I think we will do it and when we do, it will be an extraordinary breakthrough.”
Rice’s comments came just a day after Biden announced Harris as his pick for vice president.
“I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021,” Biden said in an email to supporters Tuesday.
Biden also tweeted: “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.”
He added: “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau [Biden]. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
The decision comes after Biden and Harris publicly clashed in the primary campaign — notably when Harris drew sharp contrasts with the former vice president when she challenged him on the debate stage over his past resistance to federally mandated desegregation busing.
The pick shows a willingness from both Biden and Harris to move past their differences. The decision may have been tipped days earlier when he was photographed with talking points of Harris saying he does “not hold grudges” and has “great respect for her.”
The choice also fulfills a commitment the former vice president made in March to name a woman as running mate. Naming a Black woman at a time when issues of racial injustice are front and center also responds to signals from some circles in the party that such a choice could help build bridges with the Black community and increase Black voter turnout.
Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel blasted Biden’s pick, saying he “didn’t just select a vice-presidential candidate, he chose the person who would actually be in charge the next four years if he is somehow able to win.”
“Kamala Harris’ extreme positions, from raising taxes to abolishing private health insurance to comparing law enforcement officials to the KKK, show that the left-wing mob is controlling Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” she continued. “These radical policies might be popular among liberals, but they are well outside the mainstream for most Americans.”
The RNC also said Harris should expect “an unprecedented level of scrutiny and attention,” claiming she will “be seen as the president-in-waiting.”