President Joe Biden on Friday announced his intention to nominate Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan and Nicholas Burns as ambassador to China.
The two top diplomatic positions have been in the works for months but made official only in a late-afternoon announcement by the White House during the middle of the biggest foreign policy crisis of the administration so far. The White House also announced the nomination of Michael Battle to serve as ambassador to Tanzania. Battle served as senior adviser to the Bureau of African Affairs at State for the U.S. Africa Leader’s Summit in 2014. He also served for 20 years as a chaplain in the Army Reserve.
Emanuel, who has drawn the ire of progressive Democrats, is a former two-term Mayor of Chicago, as well as a former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, and Illinois member of Congress. He opted not to run for a third mayoral term following harsh criticism of his handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager, in Chicago in 2014.
Rahm Emanuel and Nick Burns are smart decision makers, experienced leaders and dedicated public servants. @POTUS has made a great choice in naming them Ambassadors to Japan and China. I know Rahm and Nick will do great and I wish them well in their respective posts.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) August 20, 2021
Burns, a career diplomat, and longtime foreign policy hand, has served presidents of both parties. If confirmed, he would assume one of the most critical ambassador posts in the administration, with the rise of China at the center of almost important policy discussions. A Harvard University professor and former State Department spokesman, Burns ended his Foreign Service career by serving as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs for President George W. Bush.
Pelosi praises Rahm. Rahm was dccc chair in 06 when Dems won the majority and pelosi became speaker. pic.twitter.com/F03J0QDbCN
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) August 20, 2021
The relationship between the U.S. and Japan has been a focal point of the Biden administration. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was the first foreign leader to meet with President Biden in person. While the announcement was garnering support from high-profile Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, Twitter was definitely not excited about the appointment.
.@RahmEmanuel has just been nominated as Ambassador to Japan.
With broad foreign policy experience gained by the side of Presidents Obama and Clinton, a sharp intellect, and a very close relationship with Biden, Rahm will serve the US well as a powerful and effective ambassador.
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) August 20, 2021
It's too bad Biden had to resort to the guy who intentionally covered up a police murder in order to hang onto his terrible mayoralty, but there's just no one else in the U.S. who can match Rahm Emanuel's deep knowledge of Japanese politics, culture, & diplomacy…I assume? https://t.co/ofZ4kZzS9w
— Sam Feldman 🌹 (@srfeld) August 20, 2021
Rahm helped cover up a murder and shouldn't have another job in the United States government. I suspect it's going to come up in his confirmation hearings.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) August 20, 2021
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) August 20, 2021