Booker & Menendez vote to confirm Rahm Emanuel as ambassador

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced tough questions about his handling of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, but the coverup of the teenager’s unjustified death did not stop Senators from approving his nomination to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to Japan.

Emanuel, a consummate Democratic insider and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, conceded that he could have done more to remedy the “distrust” among Chicago’s Black residents during his mayorship and said he remains troubled by the killing.

“There’s not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven’t thought about this,” he told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Emanuel’s net worth is approximately $15 million as of December 2021, despite the fact that he spent almost his entire career in politics, as a campaign aide, the fourth-highest ranking member of House Democratic leadership, Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, and as a Chicago Mayor.

The release of dashboard-camera video from the shooting was delayed 13 months after the incident, following Emanuel’s re-election to a second term for mayor.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley stood out among lawmakers for questioning Emanuel and expressing skepticism over claims that dash-cam footage could have prejudiced the legal proceedings.

Merkley said Laquan McDonald’s mother learned that her son’s body was shot multiple times when she was called by the funeral director.

“It seems hard to believe that all those things happened and yet you were never briefed on the details of the situation when you were leading the city,” Merkley told Emanuel.

Eight Republicans voted for Emanuel but Merkley, voted against the confirmation as did Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, the United States senators from Massachusetts.

Emanuel’s nomination faced sharp criticism among progressive lawmakers in the House, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who called the appointment “deeply shameful.”

Emanuel, who will serve as ambassador to Japan, was one of 41 ambassadorial nominees confirmed by the Senate.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has held up diplomatic appointments for months in an effort to force a vote on sanctions against the companies behind a controversial pipeline in Europe, from Russia to Germany.

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