Disgraced former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is one step closer to being the new American ambassador to Japan. A Friday afternoon news dump revealed Emanuel would have a position in the Biden Administration after all.
Career politicians stick together as numerous leaders within the Democratic Party expressed their support for the nomination. Both former President Bill Clinton and David Axelrod expressed confidence in Emanuel.
How quickly the value of Black lives is set aside to bolster someone like Emanuel. Rep. James Clyburn took to Twitter to vouch for Emanuel, citing his time as President Obama‘s chief of staff. “He has the experience necessary to advance our country’s strategic objectives,” tweeted Clyburn.
Rep. Gregory Meeks joined the elder statesman in rushing to praise Emanuel’s nomination. Meeks also signaled support for Rahm in a Tweet from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Meeks boasted about Emanuel’s “talent” and “effectiveness” as a leader.
But other Black Democrats did not see it the same. Rep. Jamaal Bowman challenged bestowing an “honor” on Emanuel, citing his history of using his power against Black lives.
Once rumored as a contender to lead the Department of Transportation, Emanuel has been nominated as the Biden administration’s ambassador to Japan. Prior reports on the proposed ambassadorship point to Japan’s expectation of prestige and name recognition nominee. To say Emanuel is notorious would be an understatement.
NewsOne reported in February that opposition to Rahm extended “beyond covering up the murder of a Black teenager.” From closing schools and breaking promises of community input in the future of the sites to being called out for racist Asian stereotypes in early 2019, to say Emanuel is notorious would be an understatement.
The progressive grassroots organization RootsAction reshared a June statement from victims and relatives of victims of police brutality during Emanuel’s tenure objecting to his nomination.
“The possibility that Rahm Emanuel will become the U.S. ambassador to Japan is abhorrent to those of us who continue to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to police violence that he aided and abetted as mayor of Chicago,” read the statement. “No president who is truly serious about stopping brutality and murders by police would nominate Rahm Emanuel for an important government post.”
For some, rewarding Emanuel with an ambassadorship flies in the face of the express commitments to being a moral leader at home and abroad. The Biden administration has promised to ensure equity across the entire federal government. But it seems that between old friends and Black lives, old friends will win every time.
“Rahm Emanuel became a symbol of lethal disrespect for Black lives,” continued the statement from Chicago victims of police brutality. “Making him a U.S. ambassador would make the U.S. government a similar symbol.”