White House defends Rahm Emanuel’s ambassadorial nomination against liberal backlash

Amid a contemporary wave of criticism from liberal activists and lawmakers, the White House on Tuesday defended President Joe Biden’s determination to appoint Rahm Emanuel for U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The former congressman and chief of workers to President Barack Obama has confronted questions over how, as mayor of Chicago, he dealt with the deadly police capturing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Emanuel faces his Senate affirmation listening to Wednesday, which can also be the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s killing — prompting renewed outcry this week.

He’s one in every of dozens of Biden ambassadorial nominees nonetheless caught within the affirmation course of. Biden has seen a single-digit handful of his ambassadorial nominees confirmed by the Senate, leaving key vacancies in overseas capitals and on the highest ranks of the State Department that some analysts warn pose a nationwide safety risk.

Republican senators, particularly Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have put holds on dozens of nominees over Biden’s refusal to sanction the German firm behind Russia’s pipeline, Nord Stream 2. But the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., secured affirmation for 33 nominees on Tuesday, sending them to the Senate ground for a closing vote.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed again against new requires Biden to withdraw Emanuel’s nomination on Tuesday.

“The president nominated Rahm Emanuel to serve as ambassador to Japan because he’s somebody who has a record of public service, both in Congress, serving as a public official in the White House, and certainly also as the mayor of Chicago, and he felt he was somebody who could best represent the United States in Japan,” she informed reporters.

No Democratic senators have spoken out against Emanuel’s nomination. Instead, highly effective Democratic senators like Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip and a fellow Illinois Democrat, have backed him. Durbin tweeted again in August that Emanuel “has a lifetime of public service preparing him to speak for America. … I will do all I can to help Rahm become America’s voice in Japan.”

Some House Democrats, nonetheless, have urged the White House to reverse course, though they don’t vote to substantiate nominees.

“This nomination is deeply shameful. … That the Biden administration seeks to reward Emanuel with an ambassadorship is an embarrassment and betrayal of the values we seek to uphold both within our nation and around the world. I urge the Senate to vote NO on his confirmation,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stated in an announcement final month.

This week, Kina Collins, a Democrat working for Congress in Emanuel’s house state of Illinois, has been main advocacy against him.

“We can’t say Black Lives Matter and plan to build back better by appointing the man who covered up a police murder to a cushy job as an ambassador — a job the man is completely unqualified to hold,” tweeted the group organizer and activist, working once more against Democratic lawmaker Danny Davis, who has held the Chicago district’s seat for over 20 years.

At difficulty is the accusation that Emanuel, a longtime Democratic energy participant, helped cowl up the 2014 killing of McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 instances by Jason Van Dyke, a white policer officer.

Chicago police had stated McDonald ignored warnings and approached the officers, however video, launched 13 months later by a choose’s order, confirmed McDonald veering away from Van Dyke earlier than the officer shot him.

The metropolis reached a settlement with McDonald’s household, and in October 2018, Van Dyke was discovered responsible of second-degree homicide and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Emanuel had stated the town couldn’t launch the video due to a Justice Department investigation, stated he didn’t see the video till shortly earlier than its launch, and has denied any wrongdoing. The video was launched in Nov. 2015, seven months after Emanuel gained reelection as mayor.

Asked whether or not Biden and Emanuel have spoken, together with in regards to the McDonald case, Psaki informed reporters, “I don’t have any record of him speaking with him necessarily through the process. … Obviously, he’s somebody who he was familiar with. He knew his record of long standing prior to the nomination. And the president has made his own comments about that case, which I would point everyone to.”

Emanuel, a former ABC News contributor, was reportedly into account for a Cabinet secretary place through the transition final winter, however finally, he was not nominated for a job. The White House introduced his nomination for ambassador to Japan on Aug. 20 after months of hypothesis.

To date, solely 9 Biden ambassador picks have been confirmed by the Senate, with dozens of others held up by Cruz, Hawley, and others over overseas coverage disagreements with the White House, particularly on Nord Stream 2.

“There have been unprecedented delays, obstruction, holds on qualified individuals from Republicans in the Senate,” Psaki stated Monday. “The blame is clear. It is frustrating. It is something that we wish would move forward more quickly.”

After months of battle, nonetheless, there was a breakthrough Tuesday, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting to ship 33 nominations to the Senate ground for a vote.

“As the United States faces an unprecedented confluence of challenges on the world stage, our security, interests, and ability to advance our values and assert global leadership should not be imperiled by the obstructionism of those infatuated with playing politics with our entire national security infrastructure,” Menendez stated Tuesday.

Among these authorized by the committee are Cindy McCain, John McCain’s widow, for U.S. envoy to the United Nations companies in Rome; former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, an outspoken Trump critic, as ambassador to Turkey; famed pilot Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger as U.S. envoy to the International Civil Aviation Organization; and former Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell as U.S. envoy to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

ABC News’s Sarah Donaldson contributed to this report from the White House.

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