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Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a news conference at the Chicago Police Department's 6th District station on August 6, 2018. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a news conference at the Chicago Police Department's 6th District station on August 6, 2018. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

'Disgusting': Rahm Emanuel Confirmation Vote to Be Held on 7th Anniversary of Laquan McDonald's Murder

"You can't make this up."

Jon Queally

Despite outspoke opposition to his nomination, a confirmation vote for Rahm Emanuel to become U.S. Ambassador to Japan has reportedly been scheduled for next week, October 20—a date that critics of the disgraced former Chicago mayor immediately pointed out is the seventh anniversary of the police killing of Laquan McDonald.

"It's disgusting that Rahm Emanuel's confirmation hearing is being held on the 7 year anniversary of Laquan McDonald's murder," tweeted RootsAction, a progressive advocacy group that has campaigned against Emanuel's appointment specifically for withholding police video of McDonald's killing—which took place on Oct. 20, 2014—from the public while running for reelection in 2015.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel's confirmation hearing will take place next Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Progressive groups like Roots Action and lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have been outspoken ever since Emanuel's name was floated by the Biden administration that he was a horrific choice for an ambassadorship or any public office.

"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," Ocasio-Cortez declared last year when Emanuel was up for a possible cabinet position. "This is not about the 'visibility' of a post. It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered."

When he was subsequently nominated for the ambassadorship in Japan, Ocasio-Cortez said the choice by Biden was "deeply shameful."

"As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald—a mere teenager when he was shot 16 times in the back by a Chicago Police Officer. This alone should be flatly disqualifying for any position of public trust, let alone representing the United States as an ambassador," the New York Democrat said last month.

Writing for the Chicago Tribune in September, columnist Rex Huppke said the "very idea of this man being ambassador to quite literally anywhere is laughably absurd." According to Huppke:

Emanuel's transparent coverup of a video that showed MacDonald being shot 16 times by former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke—now rightfully in prison for murder—should have ended his political career. It cratered Emanuel's poll numbers at the time, with a Chicago Tribune poll in early 2016 finding that nearly 75% of Chicago voters "do not believe the mayor's explanation of how he learned of the details of McDonald's shooting death" and "more than two-thirds say the mayor was not justified in withholding the shooting video."

If that were it, it would be bad enough. But there's a laundry list of other decisions Emanuel made that, for many, put him at or near the top of the list in any discussion of the city's worst mayors.

In May of this year, a coalition of 20 advocacy groups urged Biden not to nominate Emanuel and vowed to pressure the Senate to reject his nomination outright if his confirmation ever came to a vote.

"President Biden is on the verge of making a serious error," the coalition said in a joint statement. "Emanuel's abysmal record as mayor of Chicago disqualifies him to represent the United States in a foreign capital. Our organizations will make sure that every senator hears, loud and clear, from constituents who will insist that this unwise nomination be rejected."

"Top diplomatic posts should only go to individuals with ethics, integrity, and diplomatic skills," the groups said. "Emanuel possesses none of those qualifications."

Voicing his objections when the nomination was announced, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said the choice was a total betrayal.

"Black Lives Matter can't just be a slogan," Bowman tweeted. "It has to be reflected in our actions as a government, and as a people. Rewarding Rahm Emmanuel's cover-up of Laquan McDonald's murder with an ambassadorship is not an act that reflects a value of or respect for Black lives."


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