Biden Picks Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Ambassador to Japan

By Reuters
August 21, 2021Politics
Biden Picks Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Ambassador to Japan
Rahm Emanuel speaks on stage at the WSJ The Future of Everything Festival at Spring Studios in New York City, on May 9, 2018. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden plans to nominate Rahm Emanuel, who previously served as chief of staff to former President Barack Obama and mayor of Chicago, as U.S. ambassador to Japan, the White House said on Friday.

White House officials lauded Emanuel’s experience and long years of public service. His nomination was announced on the same day that the White House disclosed that veteran U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns was picked to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

Emanuel said he was honored to be tapped for the job.

“The alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Emanuel said in a statement.

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) welcomed the announcement, saying Emanuel’s “relentlessness and track record of success” would help him as he works to deepen one of the most important U.S. alliances and advance regional security.

The White House highlighted Emanuel’s work on revitalizing Chicago, which hosted the 2012 NATO summit and led the country in attracting foreign direct investment for six consecutive years.

Emanuel headed the finance committee for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and later served as a senior adviser to Clinton on policy and strategy. He was Obama’s chief of staff for over a year before resigning to run for election as mayor of Chicago.

Emanuel served as the mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019. Four Chicago police officers were fired in 2019 for covering up the shooting death of a teenager, Laquan McDonald, in Chicago in 2014, a case that sparked calls from critics for Emanuel’s resignation.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed confidence that Emanuel would win Senate confirmation. He joins a long list of ambassadors nominated by Biden who are awaiting hearing and confirmation votes in the Senate, narrowly controlled by Biden’s fellow Democrats.

NTD staff contributed to this report

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