President-elect Joe Biden is still "strongly considering" former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose father was born in Jerusalem, to be secretary of transportation despite vocal concerns from progressives over his record as mayor, reports Axios.
Hans Nichols explains in Axios that Emanuel's experience governing the large city makes him a desirable choice as infrastructure spending looms large. Other mayors and former mayors including Los Angeles' Eric Garcetti, Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottom and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are also on Biden's short list to run the department.
Last week, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doubled down on her insistence that Emanuel not be chosen to serve in Biden's administration after reports first surfaced he was under consideration to be secretary of transportation.
Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, “What is so hard to understand about this? 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.”
Two weeks ago Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times in an interview, “Someone like Rahm Emanuel would be a pretty divisive pick.” Ocasio-Cortez, seen as a leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, added that “it would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.”
Ocasio-Cortez later explained her opposition to Emanuel, writing on Twitter that his fight with activists in Chicago over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a Black teen killed in 2014, disqualified the former mayor and chief of staff for former President Barack Obama.
Emanuel has been accused of trying to conceal dashboard camera video of McDonald's deadly shooting until after his 2015 reelection. The video was eventually released by a court ruling and Emanuel has strongly denied trying to conceal the circumstances surrounding McDonald’s death.
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"We must govern with integrity and accountability. Laquan McDonald’s life mattered," Ocasio-Cortez added.
Ocasio-Cortez’s most recent call was echoed by incoming freshmen Democrats Mondaire Jones and Jamaal Bowman – who will also represent the New York City area.