The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is reviewing some high-profile diplomatic nominations on Wednesday, has often been a decent debate community, but Ram Emanuel and R. Nicholas Burns, elected by President Biden as ambassadors to Japan and China, may face a wilder ride. …
The clash of events – escalating tensions with China and disruptions to the global supply chain – will likely dominate the interrogation of Mr Burns, who has served as a diplomat under the presidents of both sides.
Mr. Emanuel, the belligerent former mayor of Chicago, will appear before a jury on the seventh anniversary of the murder of a black teenager, Lacuan MacDonald, by a white city policeman.
The committee is chaired by Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who thwarted Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. While Mr. Menendez is likely to support both candidates, he is also less inclined to play the human shield role played by other committee chairmen in defending presidential candidates.
Ranked Republican on the committee, Senator Jim Risch from Idaho, gets along well with Mr. Menendez and is working on legislation to tighten the US response to a series of Beijing actions aimed at strengthening regional military coordination and a more aggressive approach to intellectual property theft.
Mr Riesch did not say how he would vote for either candidate, but he did say that his meetings with both were cordial – and with other Republicans on the committee, including Senator Bill Hagerty, A Tennessee Republican, signaled possible support for Mr. Emanuel.
Mr Burns is likely to face more pressing policy issues, but will almost certainly receive more Republican support as he has known some of the committee members for decades, including Senator Rob Portman from Ohio, who served with him under President George W. Bush.
The fireworks likely emanate from two former 2016 Republican presidential candidates: Senator Marco Rubio Florida, which called Biden’s team dangerously weak in international affairs, and Senator Ted Cruz Texas, which is likely to be hit hard after both nominees. Known for his aggressive and sometimes harsh style, Mr. Emanuel was taught to practice in the least confrontational way, according to the person involved in its preparations
But the worst moments for Mr. Emanuel may not have come from the Republicans.
Some of the Democrats in the group, especially Senator Corey Booker from New Jersey, one of the most outspoken members of his party on the issue of police violence, is likely to demand from him a more detailed explanation of the actions following the assassination of Mr. MacDonald on October 20, 2014.
Jonathan Eric Kaplan, a candidate for the post of Ambassador to Singapore, is also due to appear before a Senate panel on Wednesday.