President Joe Biden announced on Friday he has nominated Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Emanuel, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, served in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009. He went on to become the mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019.
Relations between the United States and Japan have been a key point for the Biden administration. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was the first foreign leader to meet with Biden in person when he took office.
Emmanuel’s track record in Democratic politics is likely to be overshadowed by controversies during his time as mayor of Chicago once confirmation hearings begin. He did not seek a third term as mayor following his controversial handling of the shooting of African-American teenager, Laquan McDonald, a topic he is likely to be asked about.
He apologized in 2015 after it took 13 months for police dashboard camera video of the shooting to become public.
The news of Emmanuel’s nomination comes as the White House is facing a major foreign policy crisis following the chaotic evacuation of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
On Friday afternoon, Biden vowed to bring all Americans home even if it meant keeping American troops on the ground in Afghanistan past his August 31 deadline.
“Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” he said.
However, Biden downplayed any issues of Americans and Afghans getting safely to the airport in Kabul when he was peppered with questions from reporters.
“To the best of our knowledge, at Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports. Now that’s a different question of when they get into the rush and crowd of all the folks just outside the wall, near the airport,” he said.
Other nominations Biden announced on Friday included Michael Battle, Nominee for Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, and R. Nicholas Burns, Nominee for Ambassador to China.