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Rahm Emanuel confirmed as ambassador to Japan in late-night Senate vote

By Jake Thomas
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Rahm Emanuel confirmed as ambassador to Japan in late-night Senate vote
Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to reporters at Trump Tower in New York City in 2016. Emanuel on Saturday was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Japan. File Photo by John Taggart/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate early Saturday confirmed Rahm Emanuel as President Joe Biden's pick to serve as ambassador to Japan.

Emanuel was confirmed in a late-night session after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had used Senate rules to block the vote for months. Cruz dropped his opposition in exchange for a vote on legislation related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, The Hill reported.

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Previously, Emanuel served as Chicago mayor, the Obama administration's White House chief of staff and in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I'm humbled and appreciative of President Biden's confidence he has placed in me and grateful for the Senate's bipartisan support," Emanuel said in a tweet after the vote, thanking Illinois' Democratic senators for their support. "Our 60-year-old alliance with Japan promotes peace and prosperity."

He was confirmed in a 48-21 vote. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both of Massachusetts' Democratic senators, joined Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, in voting against Emanuel.

Progressive Democrats had raised concerns about Emanuel earlier in the confirmation process. While mayor of Chicago, Emanuel was accused of trying to prevent the release of a video that contradicted official accounts surrounding the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, reports CNN. Emanuel has denied the accusation

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Earlier, Merkley issued a statement saying he would vote against Emanuel after getting "the input of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and local elected officials who have reached out to the Senate."

The Senate also voted to confirm over two dozen other diplomatic and judicial appointments.

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