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Rahm Emanuel secures the support of an unlikely ally: a Trumpian Republican

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One of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Will speak publicly on Wednesday in support of one of President Biden’s ambassadors, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Why it matters: Progressive activists are pressuring liberal senators to oppose Emanuel’s confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Japan. Support from leading Republicans may end up ensuring the Democrat gets the job.

Hagerty, a former ambassador to Japan under President Trump, will introduce Emanuel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the start of his confirmation hearing. This is a courtesy generally reserved for senators from a candidate’s home state. the committee.

What we’re hearing: According to a source with direct knowledge of his plans, Hagerty will say:

“While our political background could not be more different and I am sure there are many issues on which we strongly disagree, through our recent discussions it has become clear that Mayor Emanuel shares my unshakeable belief that the US-Japan relationship is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a region that is becoming more dangerous every day. “

Between the Lines: Hagerty’s take is that the Tokyo post is essential for US national security, Indo-Pacific security, and global security, as Japan is a crucial ally in countering a more aggressive China .

“Today we have a threat from Communist China to our mutual friend Taiwan,” Hagerty said, according to the source. “It is a threat that requires a strong and unified response from the United States and Japan.” Mayor Emanuel understands this critical circumstance and has assured me that he will do everything in the immense power of the American Ambassador to Japan to firmly defend the freedom of Taiwan. and democratic rule. ”A person close to Emanuel declined to comment.

Behind the scenes: Emanuel has been quietly lobbying senators for weeks to back his nomination and has already racked up a few Republican votes.

Other Republican members of the committee were reluctant to criticize him when questioned by Axios on Tuesday. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said: Democrats’ concerns with Rahm are not about preparing to be ambassador to Japan, but have to do with his role as mayor of Chicago . … Whenever a Democrat criticizes another Democrat, I get out of the way and let them go. Outside of the committee, Sens. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Who is retired and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are three Republicans who say they plan to support his confirmation, The Washington Post reported for the first time.

Next step: Progressives have been trying for months to sink Emanuel. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) publicly urged the Senate to reject it.

Almost all of the opposition to Emanuel, however, has come from people who will not have a vote on the U.S. Senate floor. The White House is convinced that Emanuel will have the votes to confirm.

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