News Release

Biden’s “Slap in the Face to Black Voters”: Pushing for Former Chicago Mayor Emanuel to Become Ambassador to Japan


On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to advance former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s nomination as the U.S. ambassador to Japan. Two Democrats voted ‘No,’ but were offset by the Biden administration securing the backing of Republicans on the Committee. The nomination now moves to the full Senate.

The Chicago Tribune reports: “Progressive Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Edward Markey of Massachusetts asked to be recorded as ‘No’ votes on Emanuel as the committee took a single vote to approve 14 ambassador nominations at once.” Emanuel’s backers include “former President Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress.”

    Cobb is a political activist from Chicago who helped organize a broad effort to oppose Emanuel’s nomination; see below. She said today: “The recent elections results show the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party are Black voters. As always, it’s about turnout. Yet, we continue to be taken for granted by elected officials at every level of the party. How President Joe Biden could forget so quickly who helped to put him in office is incredible. He shows his appreciation by trying to resurrect Rahm Emanuel from the heap of failed mayors. What a slap in the face to Black voters to nominate a man who is synonymous with a police murder, police coverup and public policies that failed Chicago’s most underserved communities.”

The AP notes: “Emanuel would head to Japan at a moment when Biden wants to increase focus on the Indo-Pacific.”

Sen. Merkley released the following statement: “Black Lives Matter. 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. I have carefully considered Mayor Emanuel’s record — and the input of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and local elected officials who have reached out to the Senate to weigh in — and I have reached the decision that I cannot support his nomination to serve as a U.S. Ambassador.” See video posted by RootsAction: “Rahm Emanuel Evades Senator Jeff Merkley’s Questions On Laquan McDonald.”

Over the last month, numerous activists from Chicago have spoken up against the nomination including:

Dorothy Homes, Justice For Families:
“Rahm Emanuel covered up the murder of my son… Rahm Emanuel does not deserve to be the ambassador of anything. Rahm Emanuel belongs behind bars.”

Camiella Williams, Adult Advisor to GoodKidsMadCity:
“If Rahm Emmanuel’s appointment as Ambassador for Japan is confirmed, all the organizing efforts put in to remove him as Mayor of Chicago will go in vain! Rahm showed the entire world, he cannot be trusted as a public servant when he concealed the murder tape of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald for his political gain.”