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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/16/22

Biden should sack a major staff headache in his White House

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WMR has learned that that the major figure behind President Biden's seeming fits and starts reaction to spreading deadly gun violence, the baby formula shortage, an increase in migrant southern border crossings, and casting blame for staff resignations on Vice President Kamala Harris is none other than his notoriously acerbic and abrasive Domestic Policy Council chair Susan Rice, the former national security adviser under President Barack Obama.

Rice has apparently cooked up such a toxic work environment at the White House that staffers have been leaving at a rapid pace. Among the departures have been Press Secretary Jen Psaki; Special Advisers and Assistants to the President Cedric Richmond, Pili Tobar, Jessica Hertz, Cathy Russell, and David Kamin; Vice President Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy; Covid coordinator Jeff Zients; and Vice President's national security adviser Nancy McEldowney. All of these staffers reportedly were subjected to harsh rebukes from Rice. The next person who may be on the chopping block is White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. It is no secret that not only does Rice want Klain's job but that she has been acting as a virtual shadow Chief of Staff since she was brought into the Biden White House.

Rice has also reportedly been personally abusive toward members of the Cabinet, most notably Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Rice has served as a major stumbling block on Biden issuing executive orders, including those restricting the sale of AR-15 assault rifles to those under the age of 21 and forgiving federal student loan debts. After becoming president, Biden vowed to "fire on the spot" any administration official who treated any of their colleagues disrespectfully. Apparently, that stricture does not apply to Rice, who is now angling for a promotion to what is arguably the second-most important job in the White House.

While she was Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Rice, the goddaughter of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was also known for her gruff interpersonal relationships with fellow ambassadors and UN staff. Three ambassadors serving on the Security Council called Rice "rude" and "undiplomatic." She was known for referring to the statements made by other members of the Security Council, including French ambassador Ge'rard Araud, as "crap," "shitty," and "bullshit." During her time in the Obama administration, Rice maintained tense and confrontational relationships with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State John Kerry. She also had trouble working amiably with her predecessor as national security adviser, Tom Donilon; his predecessor, James Jones; Obama diplomatic envoy Richard Holbrooke; Rice's successor as UN ambassador Samantha Power; and Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan. Oddly, there was no reported falling out by Rice with the then-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. General Michael Flynn, a current leader of Donald Trump's re-election campaign and a Qanon conspiracy advocate. In 2014, Obama fired Flynn for insubordination.

It is clear that during her time as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Bill Clinton, UN ambassador and national security adviser under Obama, and Domestic Policy Council chair under Biden, Rice has been a major headache when it comes to being a team player and treating subordinates, superiors, and peers with respect. Those who have experienced Rice's venom have included government and opposition leaders in Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and other African nations. Although Rice is African-American, numerous African leaders claimed that she had a tendency to look down on them in a patronizing manner. Biden can ill-afford having Rice disrupt his agenda any further, particularly during a critical mid-term election campaign.

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