‘Squad’ members says Rahm Emanuel ‘should not be considered’ for any role in Biden administration

'Squad' members says Rahm Emanuel 'should not be considered' for any role in Biden administration

Members of the progressive “squad” are insisting that former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel not join the next administration in any capacity, including for a less visible role than what President-Elect Biden’s team was originally considering.

“What is so hard to understand about this?” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted Monday. “Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership. This is not about the ‘visibility’ of a post. It is shameful and concerning that he is even being considered.”

She was responding to a Crain’s Chicago Business report that Emanuel was under consideration for U.S. Trade Representative after the Biden team faced pushback for considering him as Transportation Secretary.

Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a new member of the “squad,” responded to the news by tweeting, “Rahm Emanuel should not be considered for any position within the Biden administration.”

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“‘Less visible role’ doesn’t sound good either,” tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., also tweeted.

The on-going criticism of Emanuel, a former Obama official, seemed to signal future conflicts with Biden and other Democratic leaders. After a disappointing showing in the recent election, some House Democrats lambasted the party’s drift towards the left.

Ocasio-Cortez argued, however, that opposing Emanuel wasn’t a deviation from centrist politics.

“It is also a truly embarrassing indictment of what’s considered ‘center’ politics in the US that objecting to the appointment of an official who helped cover up the murder of a Black child is deemed the ‘progressive, far left’ position,” she said.

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McDonald was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in 2014. The officer was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder. Emanuel has defended his handling of the McDonald case, denying in a 2015 op-ed that he withheld video of the shooting because of an election.

He added: “No one could have predicted that it would take more than a year to finish the probe … At the end of the day, I am the mayor and I own it. I take responsibility for what happened and I will fix it.”

Emanuel’s brother Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has already joined Biden’s transition team. He is an oncologist who works with the National Institutes of Health and served as an Obama administration advisor from 2009 to 2011.

Congressman-elect Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., accused Emanuel of trying to “weaken” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and attacked him for school and clinic closures that impacted the Black community. Jones, along with Bowman, is considered a new addition to the “squad.”

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“I believe the Biden Administration is sincerely committed to dismantling systemic racism,” Jones tweeted. “Giving Rahm Emanuel a cabinet position would threaten that vital work,” he added, alongside a link to an online petition opposing Emanuel’s appointment.

Amid what appeared to be a deepening rift within the party, Biden transition official Jen Psaki seemed to make an effort at assuaging progressives’ fears. 

“I would encourage people to wait until we’ve made even one announcement about a Cabinet member and certainly more than just a dozen White House names, before they pass judgment,” she said.

She also claimed that Biden’s cabinet would have “people from diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences, and a diversity of political views, including from all sides of the Democratic Party.” 

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Ocasio-Cortez recently told The New York Times that the Biden team had a thin line to walk in appeasing the party. Picking Emanuel, she said, would signal “a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.”

She added that she didn’t “envy the Biden team. It’s a very delicate balance. But I think it’s really important to strike a good one. Because it sends a very, very powerful message on the intention to govern.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report.

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