Rahm Emanuel, one of President Biden’s most controversial nominees, won confirmation as ambassador to Japan on Saturday — with a little help from the GOP.
Eight moderate Republican senators voted in favor of the former Chicago mayor in a 48-21 roll-call vote during a marathon session that saw the confirmation of more than 50 other ambassadors, judges and administration officials as legislators trickled out of town for the holidays.
But three left-wing Democrats — Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon — opposed Emanuel due to his record on police brutality.
In 2014, then-mayor Emanuel refused to release damning dashboard camera footage of a Chicago police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in a case that helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Progressives railed against Emanuel’s August nomination.
“This nomination is deeply shameful,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the time. “As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald.”
Emanuel, a longtime confidant of President Barack Obama who served as his White House chief of staff, had reportedly been Biden’s first choice as Secretary of Transportation — before Democrat opposition scotched that plan.
“I’m humbled and appreciative of President Biden’s confidence he has placed in me and grateful for the Senate’s bipartisan support,” Emanuel tweeted Saturday.