Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) on Wednesday introduced President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting.
Hagerty, who served in the same position from 2017 to 2019, described Emanuel as “a qualified and capable nominee.”
“During my tenure, tensions were remarkably high with North Korea launching multiple ballistic missiles over Japan, and communist China threatening the position in the East China Sea. The Japanese people and the world needed to hear directly from the U.S. ambassador when those threats occurred,” Hagerty said when expressing the importance of filling the vacant position.
“Today we have a great threat from communist China towards our mutual friend, Taiwan. This requires a strong and unified response from both the U.S. And Japan. Mayor Emanuel understands this critical circumstance.”
However, Emanuel has faced criticism from the far-left of the Democratic Party over his handling of a police shooting when he was mayor of Chicago.
Hagerty argued Emanuel’s domestic policy decisions are unrelated to his potential position.
“I’m sure I would have disagreed with Rahm Emanuel on almost every one of the domestic political postures, he might have taken here as well. That’s not the issue here. The issue has to do with our foreign policy. It has to do with a strong America,” the senator told Chad Pergram of Fox News.
During questioning, Hagerty expressed concern over Greg Kelly, a Tennessean and former Nissan executive who has been detained in Japan.
Following Hagerty’s questioning, Emanuel pledged to make Kelly a “top priority,” if confirmed.
“I’ve already started to inquire about this and I want a report on my desk and … if you start asking that, that goes from here to up here as a top priority,” Emmanuel said. “This is not just another piece of business to be checked out. I’m going to be approaching this subject as a former U.S. congressman, who knows what it means when you have a constituent at heart.”
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