Possible Biden VP pick Susan Rice says past experience with global diseases prepares her to handle current pandemic

Susan Rice, who is reportedly among the women being considered for Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election, said she is prepared to handle the current coronavirus pandemic in part because of her past experience with global diseases. As national security adviser and U.N. ambassador in the Obama administration, Rice dealt with the Ebola epidemic, the Zika virus and the H1N1 pandemic. 

Rice said the previous administration dealt with those diseases “much more effectively than, unfortunately, we’ve seen as of late.”

“I understand what disease can do. I understand deeply the economic repercussions for Americans who are suffering enormously and how that suffering has disproportionately affected communities of color in this country, particularly African Americans and Latinos,” she said on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday. “So we have an enormous amount of work to do to come together, to tackle these challenges far more effectively and with a collective sense of purpose than what we have seen under Donald Trump’s leadership.”

Rice would not comment on if she had met with Biden regarding the vice president selection, but outlined her qualifications for the role. 

“What I would bring is almost 20 years of deep experience at the senior most ranks of the executive branch, getting things done for the American people, wrestling with crises and dealing with the solutions we need,” she said. “So that’s my background as national security adviser and many other roles that I’ve held and I think that’s very important given the nature of the crises a new administration would face from the pandemic to economic recession to our global leadership which is suffering enormously.”

Biden has said he will choose a woman for his running mate. In addition to Rice, he is reportedly considering California Senator Kamala Harris, California Congresswoman Karen Bass, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, among others. Rice said she would “whole-heartedly” support whoever Biden chooses and do everything she can to help him get elected in November. 

“I will raise money, I will do the 21st century equivalent of licking envelopes, I’ll serve in whatever capacity that Vice President Biden thinks I can best serve,” she said. “This is a critical moment in our history and I think the most important election in our lifetimes, and I look forward to doing everything I can to help him win, help us win the Senate and then to help President Biden govern effectively.”

In the new forward of her book, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” which is now available in paperback, Rice writes about the recent protests against police brutality.

Asked if she supports the call to defund police, Rice said she does not. 

“That’s not terminology that I would use,” she said. “We have a long history of inequality, of oppression that endures in this country and we need the police to be part of the solution.”

Rice said there is no “one-size-fits-all approach.”

“I’m for reimagining the role of the police, getting them out of things like social work,” she said. “I’m for responsible reallocation of resources, where that makes sense, to invest more in our communities and the health of our citizens, but it doesn’t fit a one-size-fits-all approach. You can’t just take money away uniformly and put it somewhere else or take it away altogether.”

Rice also commented on what Biden’s first foreign policy issue would be if he is elected president, saying it’s crucial to restore relationships with the United States’ allies.

“We have a president who has embraced our adversaries from Putin to Kim Jong-un and disparaged our traditional allies, from Germany to Canada to South Korea,” she said. “Our strength in the world, our ability to lead and get things done depends on our allies and partners wanting to join with us. We need to repair those relationships and we need to restore trust.”

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