Rahm Emanuel
CNN  — 

Here’s a look at US Ambassador to Japan and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


Birth date: November 29, 1959

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Birth name: Rahm Israel Emanuel

Father: Benjamin Emanuel, a pediatrician

Mother: Martha (Smulevitz) Emanuel, a psychiatric social worker

Marriage: Amy Rule (1994-present)

Children: Leah, Ilana and Zach

Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., Liberal Arts, 1981; Northwestern University, M.A. Speech and Communication, 1985

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Emanuel’s father is Israeli, and his mother is American.

Emanuel worked at Arby’s during high school. Part of his finger had to be amputated after a cut from a meat slicer became severely infected.

Took ballet in high school and received a scholarship to study dance at the Joffrey Ballet School, attended Sarah Lawrence instead.

Maintained dual American-Israeli citizenship until the age of 18.

Is sometimes called “Rahmbo” by news outlets such as the Economist and Salon for his tough, no-nonsense approach to politics and fundraising.


1980 - Works as a fundraiser on David Robinson’s congressional campaign for Illinois’ 20th district, in Chicago.

1984 - Works on Paul Simon’s campaign for US Senate.

1988 - Serves as national campaign director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

1989 - Chief fundraiser and senior adviser for Richard M. Daley’s campaign for mayor of Chicago.

1991-1992 - Serves as national finance director for the Bill Clinton/Al Gore presidential campaign.

1993-1998 - Serves as a senior adviser to President Clinton, including roles as deputy director of communications, executive assistant, senior adviser on policy and strategy and senior adviser on political affairs.

1999-2002 - Managing director of investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in Chicago.

February 2000-May 2001 - Member of the Freddie Mac board of directors.

November 5, 2002 - Wins election to the US House of Representatives for Illinois’ 5th District; is re-elected in 2004, 2006, and 2008.

November 5, 2008 - Is named White House chief of staff for President-elect Barack Obama.

December 29, 2008 - Announces he will resign his seat in the House of Representatives.

January 20, 2009-October 1, 2010 - Serves as White House chief of staff.

October 1, 2010 - Resigns as White House chief of staff and moves back to Chicago.

November 13, 2010 - Formally announces that he is running for mayor of Chicago.

January 24, 2011 - An Illinois appellate court panel rules that Emanuel does not meet the residency standard to run for mayor.

January 25, 2011 - The Illinois Supreme Court grants a stay on the appeals court ruling, and orders that any ballots printed include Emanuel’s name while the case is pending.

January 27, 2011 - The Illinois Supreme Court issues a ruling allowing Emanuel’s name on the Chicago mayoral ballot.

February 22, 2011 - With 55% of the vote, Emanuel is elected the 46th and first Jewish mayor of Chicago.

May 16, 2011 - Is sworn in at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

February 5, 2013 - Reports for jury duty but is ultimately dismissed. He says he’ll donate his $17 paycheck back to Cook County.

April 7, 2015 - Is reelected mayor of Chicago.

September 4, 2018 - Emanuel announces that he will not seek reelection to a third term as mayor of Chicago.

May 21, 2019 - The day after he leaves the mayor’s office, Emanuel signs a deal with ABC News to become an on-air contributor, two people familiar with the matter tell CNN. The Atlantic also announces his new role at the magazine as a contributing editor.

June 5, 2019 - Emanuel announces he will be joining the investment bank Centerview Partners, LLC. He will open a Chicago office and act as an adviser to the firm’s clients.

August 20, 2021 - President Joe Biden announces his intention to nominate Emanuel as ambassador to Japan.

December 18, 2021 - Is confirmed as the US ambassador to Japan by a vote of 48-21, with 31 senators not voting, ending a months-long Republican-led blockade on quick consideration of more than three dozen diplomatic nominations.