Jeff Merkley opposes the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Japanese ambassador


President Biden’s appointment of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as US ambassador to Japan met opposition from two Senate Democrats on Wednesday, one of whom said as mayor , he had only done lip service Black Lives Matter.

Opposition from Democrats was not enough to block the nomination in Wednesday’s committee vote. But Senator Jeff Merkley has issued a scathing rebuke to Mr Emanuel’s handling of the 2014 police murder of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black Chicago resident.

“Black Lives Matter,” Mr. Merkley said. “Here in the halls of Congress, it is important that we don’t just speak and believe these words, but put them into action in the decisions we make.”

The appointment of Mr. Emanuel has always passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a voice vote. Only one Republican on the committee, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, joined the two Democrats in opposing Mr. Emanuel, who also served as President Obama’s White House chief of staff.

The other Democrat to vote against him was Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts.

Among the Republicans supporting the nomination were Sen. James E. Risch of Idaho, a prominent member of the committee, and Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, former US Ambassador to Japan.

After a white policeman killed McDonald’s, the Emanuel administration refused to show police dash cam video of the murder for more than a year. The city only made it public after it was forced by a state court.

At the time, Mr Emanuel said his hands were tied by state law governing the broadcast of a police video.

The video, which showed McDonald walking away from Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke at the time of the fight, refuted Van Dyke’s claims that he was acting in self-defense.

Van Dyke was convicted of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated bodily harm and sentenced to just under seven years in prison in 2018. But many have argued that the delayed release of the footage helped Van Dyke to escape justice.

Several House Democrats have called for their colleagues in the Senate to block the appointment of Mr. Emanuel.

Mr. Merkley answered their call.

“I have carefully considered Mayor Emanuel’s record – and the contribution of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts and local elected officials who have contacted the Senate to weigh in – and made the decision that I cannot. not support his appointment to serve. as the Ambassador of the United States, ”Mr. Merkley said.

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