Rahm Emanuel, formerly a White House chief of staff and Chicago’s mayor, is President Joe Biden’s pick to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the White House announced Friday.
The president announced his intent to nominate two other ambassadors, as well. R. Nicholas Burns, a former member of the Foreign Service, is Biden’s choice for ambassador to China, and Michael Battle, who formerly served as the U.S. ambassador to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be the president’s nominee as ambassador to Tanzania.
The Biden administration has previously stated its intention to keep the ratio of career appointees to political appointees near 70 to 30 percent. Earlier in the year, the president received criticism for not moving more quickly with ambassador nominations, as key positions remained unfilled. Previous ambassador nominations from Biden have included notable names like former Sen. Tom Udall and Cindy McCain.
Emanuel served as White House chief of staff under former President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010 and before that was a member of the House of Representatives. He is most recently known for serving as the mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019, and he faced a barrage of criticism when Chicago officials delayed the release of the dashcam video when 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by a policeman.
Many of Biden’s picks for ambassador posts are pending Senate confirmation. Thus far in Biden’s term, the Senate has put holds on multiple nominees, with Sen. Ted Cruz notably blocking Biden’s choices because of the president’s waiving of Nord Stream 2 sanctions.