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Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel Reportedly To Be Named U.S. Ambassador To Japan

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CBS Chicago
CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — President Joe Biden reportedly is expected to nominate former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan, an increasingly important ally as the U.S. seeks to address Chinese influence.

The Financial Times reports Biden will name Emanuel as the U.S. envoy to Japan later this month, along with other ambassador picks.

Emanuel, 61, who also once served as chief of staff to President Barack Obama, and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, earlier had been considered for Biden’s transportation secretary, but faced stiff opposition from progressive leaders in Congress.

Emanuel has been a significant force in Democratic Party politics for much of the last three decades. But progressives and civil rights leaders have been critical of his handling of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called it “shameful” that Emanuel was even being considered for a Biden cabinet position.

The 2015 release of the video of McDonald’s fatal shooting caused widespread backlash that sparked protests and heightened racial tensions across the city. Emanuel was heavily criticized for waiting more than a year after the shooting to release the video in a move critics say was fueled by his motive to get re-elected to his second term as mayor.

The officer who shot and killed McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, is now serving a 6-year and 9-month sentence after a Cook County jury convicted him of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.

On the eve of jury selection for Van Dyke’s trial, Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term as mayor of Chicago.

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