Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may finally get paid for a job he’s been doing for free for years: offering opinions on national politics.
Emanuel announced in September that he wouldn’t seek reelection as mayor and has since been largely mum about his post-mayoral plans. But he has attended meetings in New York with top executives at MSNBC and CNN in recent weeks, and discussed a potential future as a cable news pundit, according to several sources familiar with the conversations.
In recent months, the outgoing Democratic mayor has been represented by agents with William Morris Endeavor, the talent agency and entertainment behemoth where his brother Ari Emanuel is the co-CEO.
CNN and MSNBC declined to comment. WME did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Adam Collins, the mayor’s director of communications, dismissed the credibility of anonymous sourcing and said Emanuel would focus on his post-mayoral prospects after he leaves office.
“The mayor is focused on his job, and just today we sued eight online e-cigarette online retailers who are selling to minors, and cracked down on dozens of others,” Collins said. “That’s what he’s devoting his time and energy to. He’ll turn his attention to post-mayoral opportunities when he’s done.”
Emanuel, a former congressman and President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, has been brushing up on his chops as a political pundit. In recent months, he offered predictions on CNN in October about Democratic prospects in the midterm elections. And he appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday to discuss the party’s strategy for governing in a divided Congress.
Earlier this summer, representatives for the mayor snagged a publishing deal for the mayor’s book The Nation City: Why Mayors Run the World, which will be released in the spring of 2020.
Emanuel is just the latest departing politician eyeing a cable news gig.
Last year, Republican congressmen Charlie Dent and Jason Chaffetz individually became official cable news analysts after leaving office. And Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican considering a potential primary challenge to Trump, met earlier this year with the network heads of CNN and MSNBC to discuss a potential post-Senate career as a talking head.
If Emanuel ends up at a cable network contract, he won’t even be the first Emanuel brother to have a job in cable news.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the eldest Emanuel brother and an intellectual architect of the Affordable Care Act, was hired last year as a contributor at Fox News, where he has largely appeared as a left-leaning voice on health care policy.
While many Democrats and progressive activists in Chicago have cooled on the mayor, he could be a perfect fit for the pugilistic cable news environment.
Emanuel earned a penchant for theatrics during his time as a Democratic political operative in the 1990s, enthusiastically celebrating vanquished political foes and mailing a dead fish to a pollster who upset him.