Progressive groups call potential Rahm Emanuel ambassadorship a ‘travesty’

Rahm Emanuel

A coalition of more than two dozen progressive advocacy organizations issued a joint statement Tuesday warning President Joe Biden against giving Rahm Emanuel an administration post of any kind, a call that comes as the notorious former mayor of Chicago is reportedly being considered for ambassador to Japan or China.

“Emanuel’s disgraceful behavior as mayor of Chicago cannot be erased or ignored,” the groups said, pointing to his coverup of the 2014 police murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. “At a time when the Democratic Party leadership has joined with most Americans in asserting that Black lives matter, it would be a travesty to elevate to an ambassadorship someone who has epitomized the attitude that Black lives do not matter.”

The coalition—which includes Justice Democrats, People’s Action, the Working Families Party, and RootsAction.org—also noted Emanuel’s anti-union record as well as his history of supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq “long after most Democrats in Congress and most of the public had turned against it.”

“Our country needs ambassadors who seek reconciliation and peace rather than conflict and war,” reads the coalition’s statement, which was signed by CodePink, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, and other progressive foreign policy groups.

“He has routinely served elite corporate interests and rarely the interests of the broad public or the causes of racial justice, economic equity, or the peaceful resolution of conflicts at home or abroad,” the statement continues. “And whether in federal or municipal office, he has been known for his abrasive, arrogant style of wielding power.”

Since November, Emanuel’s name has cropped up on several occasions as Biden has moved to fill positions in his administration, leading some to suspect that Emanuel himself generated rumors that he was being considered for such roles as U.S. trade representative and transportation secretary—both of which the president filled with alternative picks.

“What is so hard to understand about this? Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in November. “This is not about the ‘visibility’ of a post. It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered.”

Citing unnamed sources, The Hill reported late last month that Emanuel “is the front-runner to be Biden’s nominee as ambassador to Japan.”

“He’s also being considered for the post in China, but sources said Japan is the more likely landing spot for former President Obama’s chief of staff,” the outlet noted. “Former State Department official Nicholas Burns is the likely front-runner to end up in Beijing.”

Bree Carlson, deputy director of People’s Action, said in a statement Tuesday morning that Emanuel is “a ladder-climbing hack who is unfit to serve anywhere in the Biden administration.”

“His previous stints in public office were riddled with failures,” Carlson added. “He covered up the murder of Laquan McDonald, defunded public schools, and attacked benefits for poor people. It would be a slap in the face for many to see President Biden ignore the loud calls of opposition towards him.”

Working Families Party national director Maurice Mitchell added that Emanuel is “unfit for elected office and unfit for an appointed position in the Biden administration or any administration.”

“President Biden pledged to have the back of the Black community that sent him to the White House,” said Mitchell. “Appointing Rahm Emanuel to anything is a broken promise. We don’t ‘build back better’ by rewarding coverups for murder.”

Image Credit: Daniel X. O’Neil, Flickr

This article was originally published on Common Dreams. It is licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

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