The Senate confirmed former Chicago Mayor Ram Emanuel as US ambassador to Japan in Saturday night’s ballot, when eight Republicans supported him and three Democrats voted against.
Emanuel, who was also White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama, was confirmed after Senators voted 48-21 with Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Ed Markey (Massachusetts) and Jeff Merkley. (D-Ore) against his appointment.
Supporters of his candidacy have backed Emanuel for the Tokyo office because of his long tenure in the civil service at a time when Washington is counting on Asian allies such as Japan to help curb China’s regional ambitions.
The Japan Times said Emanuel’s appointment would receive strong approval from Japanese officials, citing the former Chicago mayor’s close relationship with President Joe Biden as potentially providing a direct link to the White House.
Among the Republicans who voted in favor of Emanuel was former US Ambassador to Japan Senator Bill Hagerty (RR from Tennessee), who took to Twitter to express his support.
Congratulations to my successor and our next US Ambassador to Japan, Hagerty. said in a statementadding that “significant challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and the need for the United States to demonstrate its strength in the region” have made filling a post vacant for more than two years a priority.
“While our political views cannot be more different, Ambassador Emanuel shares my unshakable conviction that the US-Japan relationship is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in one of the most strategically important regions in the world,” Hagerty added.
Several progressive Democrats have opposed Emanuel for any role in the administration, due in part to the 2014 Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Lacuan MacDonald while Emanuel was mayor.
Congresswoman Corey Bush (Democracy) stated in 5 november tweet that Emanuel “should never again serve a public office after he covered up the police’s murder of Lacwan MacDonald,” posted a message days after Senator Merkley, one of the senators, who voted against Saturday. posted it he could not “support his candidacy with a clear conscience.”
The way Emanuel handled the case when he was mayor of Chicago has been criticized, especially as the video showing the shooting hasn’t been released for over a year.
Van Dyck was convicted of second-degree murder and jailed for nearly seven years, and four Chicago police officers were fired over MacDonald’s death.
At a confirmation hearing in October, Emanuel said he often thought about MacDonald’s death and that as mayor he is responsible and accountable.
In addition to confirming Emanuel, the Senate has nominated dozens of other candidates from the Biden administration, including envoys to Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.