WASHINGTON – Rahm Emanuel’s chances of landing a top Cabinet post in Joe Biden's administration appear increasingly unlikely after the former Chicago mayor emerged as a source of controversy for the president-elect, who had been considering Emanuel for transportation secretary, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Emanuel, among multiple candidates in the running for the Cabinet position, appeared to slip down the list in the last two weeks after progressive leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, criticized the prospect of nominating him for the post, the person said Thursday. That concern has grown deeper in recent days, particularly after the Rev. Al Sharpton raised similar concerns during a meeting with Biden and other civil rights leaders, the person said.
The person was not authorized to publicly discuss private deliberations and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
A decision hasn’t been finalized, and the dynamics could shift as Biden builds out his Cabinet with an eye to ensuring diverse leadership in the top ranks of his administration.
Whether Emanuel is ultimately picked could also be affected by other factors as Biden has placed a premium on building out a Cabinet and team of senior advisers from a diverse set of backgrounds, according to people familiar with the transition’s deliberations. The dynamic, perhaps more than progressives' opposition to him, is an important factor in whether Biden eventually asks him to join the administration in a Cabinet role, according to two people familiar with deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
An announcement on transportation secretary is not believed to be imminent.
Representatives for the Biden transition and for Emanuel declined to comment.
Emanuel, a former congressman who also served as former President Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff, has been a significant force in Democratic Party politics for much of the last three decades. But progressives and civil rights leaders have been critical of his handling of the high-profile police shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager killed by a white officer, during his time as Chicago’s mayor.