AOC slams Biden's Rahm Emanuel nomination as 'deeply shameful'

New York congresswoman claims former Chicago mayor tried to cover up 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., forcefully came out against the nomination of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, calling the selection "deeply shameful."

Ocasio-Cortez pointed to Emanuel's response to the 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, which resulted in a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family and the second-degree murder conviction of former police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times. Other officers had said in reports that McDonald posed a threat at the time of the shooting, but police video footage indicated otherwise.

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"This nomination is deeply shameful. As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald - a mere teenager when he was shot 16 times in the back by a Chicago Police Officer," Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. "This alone should be flatly disqualifying for any position of public trust, let alone representing the United States as an ambassador."

The police video had been kept under wraps until a judge ordered Emanuel to release it more than a year later, finding that the state had violated records laws by not releasing it earlier. Emanuel denied covering it up, and in January 2019 three of Van Dyke's colleagues, Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March, were found not guilty of obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy.

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Still, Emanuel's opponents maintain there was foul play.

"That the Biden administration seeks to reward Emanuel with an ambassadorship is an embarrassment and betrayal of the values we seek to uphold both within our nation and around the world," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "I urge the Senate to vote NO on his confirmation."

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Prior to serving as Chicago's mayor, Emanuel was White House chief of staff for President Obama. The Biden administration announced his nomination for the ambassador role in August.