For Immediate Release
Jeff Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Coalition Vows to Fight Senate Confirmation of Rahm Emanuel to Become Ambassador to Japan
Twenty organizations announced Friday that they will launch a nationwide grassroots campaign urging senators to vote against President Biden’s expected nomination of Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan. The announcement followed reports earlier this week that Biden has decided to nominate Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor who has been denounced by activists challenging police brutality.
“Emanuel's abysmal record as mayor of Chicago disqualifies him to represent the United States in a foreign capital,” a joint statement said today. “Our organizations will make sure that every senator hears, loud and clear, from constituents who will insist that this unwise nomination be rejected.”
National organizations signing the statement include Demand Progress, Justice Democrats, People’s Action, RootsAction.org, and Progressive Democrats of America. Chicago-based groups that signed the statement include The People’s Lobby and American Friends Service Committee, Chicago Office.
“We are appalled at the reported plans to nominate Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan,” the statement said. “If the news reports are accurate, President Biden is on the verge of making a serious error.”
Noting that “back in March, we publicly warned against such a nomination of Emanuel,” the organizations said: “The deep concerns that we expressed at that time will now be greatly amplified. Top diplomatic posts should only go to individuals with ethics, integrity and diplomatic skills. Emanuel possesses none of those qualifications.”
The groups emphasized that “Emanuel’s disgraceful behavior as mayor of Chicago cannot be erased or ignored. 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 statement added: “After being elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, Emanuel presided over a scandal-plagued administration that included the closing of 49 public schools, many in Black neighborhoods. As he faced a re-election campaign, for 13 months Emanuel’s administration suppressed a horrific dashcam video showing the death of Laquan McDonald, an African-American teenager who had been shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer as he walked away from the officer. . . . Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: ‘Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership.’”
The organizations cited a blunt comment from national NAACP President Derrick Johnson, who said: “As the former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has shown us that he is not a principled leader or person. His time in public service proved to be burdened with preventable scandal and abandonment of Chicago’s most vulnerable community.”
The national director of RootsAction.org, Norman Solomon, said Friday: “It’s stunning that just weeks after Biden made eloquent pleas for an end to police violence against African Americans, the president has reportedly decided to nominate Rahm Emanuel to an important diplomatic post. In view of his record as Chicago’s mayor, the nomination of Emanuel would undermine those pleas, sending exactly the wrong message about political opportunism and institutional racism.”
Below is the full text of the joint statement and a list of the signing organizations.
RootsAction is dedicated to galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars. We mobilize on these issues no matter whether Democrats or Republicans control Washington D.C.