Rep. Cori Bush Says Rahm Emanuel Confirmation Hearing Shows 'Disregard for Black Lives'

Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush has called out the U.S. Senate for holding the committee confirmation hearing of Rahm Emanuel on the anniversary of Laquan McDonald's death, who was murdered during Emanuel's tenure as mayor of Chicago.

"In case you're wondering how much the Senate values Black lives: They're holding the confirmation hearing for Rahm Emanuel on the 7-year anniversary of the police's murder of Laquan McDonald," Bush wrote on Twitter. "A murder that he helped cover up as Mayor."

"A disgusting disregard for Black lives," the tweet continued.

In case you’re wondering how much the Senate values Black lives:

They’re holding the confirmation hearing for Rahm Emanuel on the 7-year-anniversary of the police’s murder of Laquan McDonald. A murder that he helped cover up as Mayor.

A disgusting disregard for Black lives.

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) October 20, 2021

Emanuel was testifying Wednesday to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations after being nominated by President Joe Biden to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Emanuel had previously served as chief of staff to former President Barack Obama. He was then elected mayor of Chicago in 2011 and held the position until 2019.

Significant criticism was directed toward Emanuel due to his handling of the Laquan McDonald case. McDonald, a 17-year-old Black male, died after being shot 16 times by Chicago police in October 2014.

While the police officer who shot McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison, officials accused Emanuel of attempting to cover up evidence of the shooting.

Particular criticism was aimed at the release of police dash-cam video showing the shooting. The video was not released to the public until November 2015, over a year after McDonald's murder.

Many people noted at the time that McDonald's death had come just four months before the next mayoral election, and speculation grew that Emanuel had kept the dash-cam video hidden because he feared it would hurt his campaign.

Rahm Emanuel confirmation hearing
Rep. Cori Bush tweeted her anger with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for holding Rahm Emanuel's hearing on the 7-year anniversary of Laquan McDonald's death. Here, Emanuel can be seen speaking during the hearing. Alex Wong/Getty

While the confirmation hearing occurred on the exact anniversary of McDonald's murder, the incident was not the primary topic of discussion. However, Committee Chair Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) brought up the murder in his opening remarks, allowing Emanuel to express his remorse.

"There's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years that I haven't thought about this and thought about it," Emanuel told the committee.

Emanuel also admitted that he was unclear on how much distrust existed between Black Chicagoans and members of the Chicago Police Department. "I thought I was addressing the issue, and I clearly missed the level of distrust and skepticism that existed, and that's on me," Emanuel continued.

However, beyond the opening remarks, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that only one member of the committee, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), criticized Emanuel's handling of the murder.

Other members took Emanuel's side, with Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) stating that any mayor of a large city would be "picking up some scar tissue along the way."

The Sun-Times also noted that a majority of Republicans on the committee did not bother to show up for the hearing, with only two out of the 11 attending.

Emanuel's nomination is expected to pass through the committee and go on to the Senate for a full vote, where it is expected that he will have the votes to be confirmed.

Newsweek has reached out to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for comment.