* Reporters asked Gov. Rauner yesterday why he skipped a White House gathering attended by 46 other governors and who he’s met with in the Trump administration…
On Monday, the most Rauner revealed is he’s been in “communication” with members of the “Trump administration” on “violence issues.”
“The folks who are developing the policy — different from, you know, media discussion — the policy that we’re actually going to implement, we’re in conversations, I’m personally in conversations with folks developing that,” Rauner told reporters Monday when asked to respond to the perception that he’s been distancing himself from Trump.
The governor did not give specifics about what policy was being considered, nor did he say whom he was talking with from Trump’s administration. Pressed on whether he was avoiding Trump, Rauner said he’d “meet with the president any time.”
On Monday — as governors met with Trump at the White House — Rauner was asked several times why he hasn’t met personally with Trump. The two have only shared a private phone conversation shortly after the election.
Rauner said he spent his weekend speaking with governors and members of the Trump administration about Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — saying he pushed for “moving slowly and thoughtfully” and fixing the “broken” insurance market on the exchange. He said he also spoke to the Trump administration about coordinating to help deal with Chicago’s gun violence problem.
The governor said he met with members of Trump’s administration — “the folks that are developing the policy” — about a federal policy dealing with violent crime across the country. He declined to discuss specifics of that potential policy change.
“It’s different from, you know, media discussion. A policy that we’re actually going to implement. We’re in conversations,” he said.
Let’s stipulate right up front that there is zero doubt that much of this is about that horribly over-used word “optics.” He has to win the suburbs to be reelected, and Trump did horribly in the ‘burbs.
* But the governor also said this yesterday…
The folks who are driving the policy are the folks who are going to make the difference.
Which seems to indicate that he doesn’t believe that talking to the president will make much difference.
* And that’s part of the same point made in The Atlantic about the stock market’s rise since the election…
(T)he stock market might be rising because investors are paying more attention to the people surrounding Trump than to the president, himself. The federal government looks mostly like a conventionally conservative pro-business institution, if you ignore the idiosyncrasies of the Oval Office. Republicans have promised to cut taxes, particularly for rich Americans and business, and there is broad agreement among the GOP to deregulate the financial and energy industries, including rolling back Dodd-Frank. […]
To oversimplify slightly, you could say that the divide between the apoplectic Main Street and cheery Wall Street is the difference between a Big Trump hypothesis and a Little Trump hypothesis. The Big Trump hypothesis says that the president is a vindictive demagogue and a unique threat to Americans norms and institutions, with the potential to wreak havoc on the country’s politics, economics, and culture.
The Little Trump hypothesis regards these fears and declares: “meh.” Instead, it posits that the president will be a loud yet minor figure, sound and fury signifying nothing; a wannabe superhero hemmed in by the limited powers of the executive branch. Rather than rule like a populist demagogue, he will mostly sign bills written by his pro-business staffers and approved by a pro-business Congress. There are extremely smart people who believe in each hypothesis. But the theories are mutually exclusive. They cannot both be true. No matter what happens in the next few years, a lot of people are already wrong about Donald Trump.
* Alexander: Rauner can’t dodge Trump forever
* Governor Says He’ll Meet Trump ‘Any Time’
* Gov. Rauner no-show at Trump’s governors’ events