Senate Panel Advances Rahm Emanuel Nomination Despite Objections

Senate Panel Advances Rahm Emanuel Nomination Despite Objections rahm emanuel sits with chin resting on clasped hands in hearing Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, testifies during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Oct. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 03 November 2021 02:19 PM

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday voted in favor of advancing the nomination of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan despite objections from two Democrats on the panel.

Democrat Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both voted against advancing Emanuel’s nomination, but Republican Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho, the committee’s ranking member, and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, both voted in support of the nomination.

The Hill reports that Merkley said in a statement before the vote that he was opposed to advancing Emanuel’s nomination over his handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2014, during his time as mayor of Chicago. Emanuel has come under fire from progressives and civil rights proponents due to allegations that he suppressed critical evidence from being released until after his reelection.

"Black lives matter," Merkley said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. "Here in the halls of Congress, it is important that we not just speak and believe these words, but put them into action in the decisions we make."

The senator added that he came to his decision based on "the input of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and local elected officials."

Markey did not comment on his vote, according to The Hill.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voted "no" to Emanuel’s nomination, as well as 13 other nominees being considered by the panel on that day.

Emanuel said at his confirmation hearing last month that "there’s not a day or a week that has gone by" that he doesn’t think about McDonald or his death, but he went on to defend his conduct.

"As you know, there’s a longstanding protocol and practice that nothing’s released in the middle of an investigation for fear of either prejudicing a witness or endangering a prosecution. That was the practice, longstanding, not just in Chicago but across the country," he said, according to The Hill, noting that he went on to push for new oversight and accountability policies after the incident.

"It is clear to me, those changes were inadequate to the level of distrust. There were at the best marginal. I thought I was addressing the issue, and I clearly missed the level of distrust and skepticism that existed. And that’s on me," he said.

Although Emanuel’s nomination was advanced out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, all of President Joe Biden’s diplomatic nominees are currently on hold in the Senate due to Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and their issues with the administration’s actions on Russia and Afghanistan, respectively, according to The Hill.

Original Article