Biden to Name Rahm Emanuel Ambassador to Japan

Biden to Name Rahm Emanuel Ambassador to Japan rahm emanuel stands in airport Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attends a ceremony to mark the opening of five new gates at O'Hare International Airport on May 11, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 28 April 2021 11:59 AM

President Joe Biden is expected to name former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel ambassador to Japan as part of a new slate of diplomats that will include some of the president's closest friends, aides, and donors, The Washington Post reports.

Biden's selection process, which has been slower than usual because he "knows too many people and he has too many friends," according to one source of the Post's, was "complicated" in the newspaper's words because of the president's "sensitivity" to selecting ambassadors outside his mostly-male, mostly-white longtime inner circle.

"President Biden has been clear his leadership team will reflect America's diversity, and that includes ambassadorships," a spokesperson for the White House said on Tuesday.

"Obviously we are watching, but we are encouraged by the commitments the president and secretary of state have made publicly to increasing the number of career ambassadors and nominees to senior policy jobs in Washington, and so far we have seen a very diverse set of nominees which we think is critical in light of the real deficit of diversity in the State Department and Foreign Service," added Eric Rubin, the president of the American Foreign Service Association.

The potential choices include Comcast executive David Cohen as ambassador to Canada, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as ambassador to Mexico, and Denise Bauer, who directed a women's network that supported Biden, may be named ambassador to France. Former Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut is also up for an ambassadorship.

The Post notes that two Arizona Republicans, Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake, are both possibilities, with McCain rumored to be in the running for envoy to the United Nations' World Food Program.

Former Biden adviser Julie Smith is thought to be up for U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Biden adviser Mark Gitenstein may be named ambassador to the European Union. Biden donor Michael Adler is in the running for ambassador to Belgium but has pushed for ambassador to Israel, according to the newspaper's sources, but Morgan Stanley executive Thomas Nides, a former State Department official, appears to be Biden's top choice for that post. Longtime diplomat R. Nicholas Burns will likely be named ambassador to China, according to the Post. There is currently no clear top choice for the post of ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The White House declined to comment to the Post on the possible choices for ambassadors or the timing of their selection.

"This is a popular question, including from some people who want to be ambassadors," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in March, after being asked about the timeline for their confirmation.

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