Aug 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden taps Rahm Emanuel as envoy to Japan, Nick Burns to China

Picture of Rahm Emanuel
Photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday nominated Rahm Emanuel, former President Obama's chief of staff, as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

State of play: The president also nominated Nick Burns, the State Department's former No. 3, as ambassador to China. He also served as ambassador to NATO and to Greece.

  • Emanuel served in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009, and then became mayor of Chicago from 2011 to 2019.
  • Burns is a Harvard University professor and former State Department spokesman who capped his Foreign Service career by serving as undersecretary of state for political affairs for President George W. Bush.
  • By sending him to Beijing, Biden would be indicating a preference for a seasoned diplomat instead of a high-wattage politician, Axios reported.
  • Biden also nominated Michael Battle, who previously worked at the State Department, as the ambassador to Tanzania.
  • Battle served as senior adviser to the Bureau of African Affairs at State for the U.S. Africa Leader’s Summit in 2014. He also served for 20 years as a chaplain in the Army Reserve.

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