President-elect Joe Biden is “strongly considering” nominating former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be transportation secretary, Axios reports.
Biden is considering Emanuel among a number of mayors for the job, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Emanuel served as the mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019, departing amid widespread criticism over his role in the cover-up of the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Emanuel previously served as Obama’s chief of staff after a stint in the House of Representatives.
He worked as a top aide and fixer to former President Bill Clinton and also held positions at Freddie Mac and the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co.
“Emanuel’s advocates point to his record in Chicago, where he worked on hiring minorities for a $2.3 billion rail extension project, and he partnered with the Chicago Transportation Authority to bring ex-offenders back into the workforce,” Axios reported. “Where the fight actually matters — in the U.S. Senate — Emanuel may be able to count on some Republican allies who remember him as a White House dealmaker — and a former colleague in the House gym.”
Union rejects pick:
Sara Nelson, the head of the Association of Flight Attendants Union, rejected Emanuel’s potential nomination.
“DOT is effectively the labor department for aviation - 80% union,” she wrote. “It plays a major role in transportation trade too. We do not need a union buster setting the rules for workers in aviation. That just doesn’t reflect @JoeBiden’s deep commitment to workers & our unions.”
The left-wing outlet In These Times noted in 2015 that Emanuel tried to limit teachers’ right to strike and trashed the auto workers union during bailout talks.
Progressive reps reject pick:
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned that picking Emanuel for any administration job would be “pretty divisive.”
“It would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party,” she said earlier this month.
Ocasio-Cortez later linked her opposition to Emanuel’s role in the McDonald coverup.
“We must govern with integrity and accountability,” she said. “Laquan McDonald’s life mattered.”