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Rauner lashes out at reporters over their questions about First Lady’s involvement

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* After reporters finished asking questions at the State Fair yesterday, Gov. Rauner said he wanted to say something else….

We’ve had a few inquiries in the office about, reporters have been calling asking if my wife has been very involved in the staff changes that have gone on in my office, um, over the last month or two.

Um, let me address that and say I think that the inquiries, the questions themselves are pathetic. I think they’re terrible. I think it just shows how desperate my political opponents are to try to attack me through attacking my wife. I think it’s disgusting and I’ll say that very strongly.

And let me be crystal clear, I decide who will be members of my senior staff. Nobody else decides, I decide. I decide what the policies of our administration are gonna be. Nobody else decides, I decide. I get input from many people, both in the administration and outside the administration, experts in the different fields, I like to get advice. But I decide, no one else decides. And it’s despicable for somebody to try to attack my wife. I decide my staffing for our administration. And I’m very proud, my wife is a national expert in early childhood education and a national expert in helping disadvantaged children from low income backgrounds. And I’m very proud of her and I get her advice on many regards, but I decide, especially on staff issues. Thanks very much everybody, I appreciate it.

* OK, first of all, did he just call reporters’ questions about his wife “pathetic” and “terrible”? Did he imply that those inquiring reporters were doing the bidding of his political opponents, or perhaps are his political opponents? Did he say all that after he claimed his wife was his “most senior advisor”? Sounds a lot like someone else in the news lately.

Also, nobody else decides staffing issues? Remember this quote after his body man was fired after one day on the job?

“I don’t know (his) exact role or title. You know, we’re obviously adding people all the time,” said Rauner. […]

Rauner said he has a team of people who making hiring decisions.

“In that particular case, I don’t know. There are probably a dozen people who are involved in hiring,” said Rauner.

* Also, as far as the First Lady’s involvement is concerned, what about her 350 documented e-mails to Rauner’s former chief of staff Richard Goldberg during the first six months of 2017? Why is it “despicable” to ask about her involvement when she sent, on average, more than two e-mails a day just to his chief of staff seven days a week for six months?

* And then there’s today’s Sun-Times article

Sources said the first lady’s involvement in messaging began in late 2016. It blossomed this year, leading up to the firing and resignations of key staffers. Rauner fired nine senior staffers by mid-July, with at least 11 others resigning in protest. Many were replaced with members of the conservative think tank the Illinois Policy Institute; the group’s CEO John Tillman is a close friend and adviser to both Rauners.

“Her involvement in decision making within the administration has exploded within the past 16 to 18 months, and it’s not just education and health care issues,” said a second source close to the governor’s office. “She became part and parcel of all messaging and issues. Every decision he makes she’s been a part of, including hiring IPI.” […]

Diana Rauner grappled with concerns over the rest of the governor’s term and how it would end: “There was this continuing escalating presence where it grew to a point in the last few months where the governor sort of gave an order to his communications staff that the first lady was to be included on every single communication, on every single draft statement, on everything possibly that was going to go out.” […]

Sources described the environment as highly intense with “an insane level of micromanagement” at a time when the staff was dealing with the budget impasse, a fight with the largest state employee union, and wars with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

From what I understand, both the governor and Mrs. Rauner were infatuated with the Illinois Policy Institute’s social media presence, particularly its Facebook page. They “understood” messaging the same way the Rauner’s did. And now here we are.

* One more thing. The governor sounded a lot like former President George W. Bush with his “I’m the decider” schtick. Not a good look, dude.

       

56 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    What’s pathetic is Diana’s phoniness. She wants to be viewed as Mother Theresa while she and her husband harm the most vulnerable in our state. Clearly she got upset when the “messagin’” didn’t cover up the actions.


  2. - northsider (the original) - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    If you can’t stand the heat, don’t film any more ads in the kitchen.


  3. - Commander Norton - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    It also looks bad when you brag on your wife and use her in your campaign commercials and wax emotional about how she’s your partner and chief adviser and all that… but then when the questions get less sentimental and more specific, you angrily deny that she makes any actual decisions, and you go all insecure-man-asserting-his-right-to-call-the-shots on everybody.

    Look, the old trope about spouses and children being off-limits in politics doesn’t apply when you publicly say that your spouse or child plays a role in your administration and occupies a position of influence. Rauner benefited from his wife during the campaign. That ad where she sits on the sofa next to him and says she’s a Democrat and that they don’t always agree? It helped reassure some voters that Rauner might not be hyper-partisan and, in particular, that he could be flexible on social issues. Diana Rauner’s position with a social services advocacy organization likewise soothed some worries that the governor would make budgetary decisions that would hurt vulnerable women and children - until, of course, he did just that. You can’t have it both ways, governor.


  4. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Bruce Rauner on legitimate questions by journalists: “Pathetic. Terrible. Despicable.”

    Bruce Rauner on statements defending white supremacists by Donald Trump, who Rauner supported and voted for:


  5. - Roman - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    First, maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen any “political opponents” make an issue out of this. It looks like it’s coming from his former staffers.

    Second, when you make your wife a central part of your campaign television ads, you make her fair game.

    Third, I find it encouraging that his wife is involved. She mostly seems to be a moderating influence, urging a more civil tone. Though, bringing in the IPI seems to contradict that.


  6. - Montrose - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    Doesn’t his wife, as first lady, have staff paid for by the state government? She has an official role in the Governor’s administration. Asking about the breadth and depth of that role is not pathetic.


  7. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Her emails seem perfectly acceptable for an executive’s spouse and also perfectly legitimate for reporter inquiry.

    I don’t even get what he’s mad about?


  8. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    And I immediately flashback to Blagojevich using his daughter as a human shield to protect against pesky reporters and their questions at the Illinois State Fair.

    This stuff is getting surreal.


  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    Family members should be off limits unless they choose to be prominent, active members in campaigns and administrations.

    Diana Rauner has chosen to be just that. Questioning her actions within the campaign and administration are not out of bounds at all.


  10. - Union proud - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    He’s the decider? I thought he was simply an innocent victim of mean ole Mike Madigan. Pick a lane Bruce.


  11. - dbk - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Good heavens, they were “infatuated” with IPI’s Facebook page? I read that page and certainly wouldn’t choose “infatuated” to describe how it makes me feel.

    How can anyone claiming to be a “lifelong Democrat” have had a hand in bringing x-number of IPI staff into the governor’s office?

    What’s going on? OW, to the rescue, please.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Maybe Diana’s upset with her branding being tarnished? lol

    If there is an “Oswego Willy” brand I hope it has seersucker, pineapples, a Cubs reference & packaged with a Golf twist

    Hey - Norseman-, for the write-in campaign… 1) do I have a brand 2) am I being true to the brand 3) send me drafts of your response in “real time”

    I know now from Diana all that goes into being a phony… branding… and 350+ emails.


  13. - HoneyBadger - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Also, as far as the First Lady’s involvement is concerned, what about her 350 documented e-mails to Rauner’s former chief of staff Richard Goldberg during the first six months of 2017?

    Here is a thought… maybe Governor Rauner was using his wife’s email address to send those 350 documentated emails. Not really a stretch if he is so vehemently defending Diana and of course his well-known making up of stories. (Election night call to Madigan)


  14. - hot chocolate - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    ==Did he imply that those inquiring reporters were doing the bidding of his political opponents, or perhaps are his political opponents?==

    So, no reporter ever has a political agenda? As long as you call yourself a journalist and work for a publication you’re as pure as the wind driven snow I suppose? He doesn’t have a lot of vocal allies. It makes sense, then, from his perspective, to attack the media. A lot of regular people out there agree that the level of media bias against Republicans has reached the “foaming at the mouth” stage of rabidity.


  15. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    Like Trump, Rauner gives away what he’s most trying to cover up.

    His wife is involved in IL politics. He’s terrible at governing.

    This isn’t hard.


  16. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    To his credit, at least he didn’t describe these legitimate questions about his wife’s involvement “Neanderthal and sexist.”

    You never go full Blagojevich.


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:30 am:

    ==Diana Rauner grappled with concerns over the rest of the governor’s term and how it would end==

    How’s that end looking these days? Answer: That end is a lot closer than it appeared a few months ago.

    Messagin’ at its finest.


  18. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Again, what happened to this guy?

    Did he finally realize governin’ isn’t as easy as busting out companies? Did having to deal with Madigan finally get to him? Did the veto override break him? Did somebody take away the cowboy costume?

    The change in emotional presentation the past few weeks has really been striking.


  19. - molly maguire - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    he’s losing his stuff


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    ==maybe Governor Rauner was using his wife’s email address to send those 350 documentated emails. ==

    “Riiight”

    https://youtu.be/JnnDA6OGqvY


  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    That is funny as yesterday he called Diana his most senior advisor. I would think he was not making fun of her age, but was instead making a classification or her role.


  22. - HoneyBadger - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Hopefully more news organizations and journalists will call him out on his incompetence. The interview with Amanda only reinforces the notion that he has no idea about governin’.


  23. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    “But what about her emails?” The parallels write themselves.


  24. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    ===And it’s despicable for somebody to try to attack my wife.===

    I find this an interesting perspective as well. Asking questions is an “attack”? A nerve or seven has clearly been hit.


  25. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    Willy, working on running things by the focus groups. Unfortunately, one focus group had to board the school bus before I finished my presentation.

    To the post: Rauner has placed him and his wife in this position. You engage, you become a fair target. Diana engaged for IPI takeover of govs office and social service agencies suffering under Rauner should take note.


  26. - Roman - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    == I don’t even get what he’s mad about ==

    Bruce V. Rauner, the “V” is for victim.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    Ok, snark over…

    To… the… Post,

    Diana Rauner is about her brand.

    I know this now.

    It’s not about the phony Democrat or someone caring for children or vouching for her husband, or a social agenda, or even about policy.

    Diana Rauner is about her brand.

    Why is that important? Let’s go to the Wayback Machine, shall we?

    Diana Rauner is part and parcel of the Bruce Rauner phony. Diana all but admits this, having her brand being a prop for her husband to pivot and be the ridiculous caricature HE is. Diana’s brand is being the head of a Social Service organization. If The Ounce didn’t know that, they know it now. Diana vouching for “Bruce the Caricature” needed the Diana credibility of her role to say “Bruce has no social agenda”. The credibility is Diana herself. The brand. The Diana Rauner Brand.

    Let’s look at the pivots off Diana;

    Bruce is a rascal, ask Diana. Bruce has never been happier, ask Diana. Bruce didn’t clout his denied his denied, Winnetka-living Daughter, maybe Diana. Bruce gives more money to schools, so says Diana.

    The Diana Rauner Brand is the trump card to Rauner’s blemishes.

    These emails? Welp, we learn in these emails that Diana is obsessed with messaging, IPI, and micromanaged every punctuation mark. You want to tell me Diana is a civilian?

    Here’s the update to just weeks ago.

    The Diana Rauner Brand wasn’t strong enough to help Bruce anymore, and the blowback at cocktail parties… not children, not the pain to social services, not the destruction to higher ed… Diana’s Brand at cocktail parties… that’s what troubled Diana Rauner.

    Now there’s a difference between a brand and a person, and Diana Rauner the person, she is all about IPI. Diana knew to be liked again at cocktail parties, IPI and their messaging needed to take over.

    Governing? No. We need messaging. Saving Illinois? No. We need messaging.

    The messaging that both Diana and Bruce need for the destruction Diana and Bruce require. That, and have the Diana Brand shine.

    Fire those not hurting Illinois, and ruining Diana’s Brand, hire IPI, the Tillman folks. Diana and Bruce think highly of both IPI and Tillman… and their mission, their messing, their people.

    Radical Candor insued.

    Make no mistake. Diana have been working hand and… email to destroy Illinois, trading off her brand to do so.

    Finally, Dems…

    It’s up to you, collectively, to tear down the phony “Democrat” schtick.

    If you keep letting Diana brand herself a Dem, after millions to defeat Dem legislators, after ads, after phony pivots, after all the vouching… and after the emails, you have only yourselves to blame. Diana isn’t a civilian, she’s taking politics and policy to you, at you, mocking you as she claims being a Democrat.

    The unmasking and branding is out in the open. Will you finally stop the silliness?

    You can’t fire people who know where the bodies are buried, or where the emails are parked.


  28. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    Either she is your most-trusted advisor and a quasi-state employee whose emails are protected from FOIA

    or

    She is a private citizen and family member who is beyond public scrutiny.

    No one asks for emails that your kids sent because your kids didn’t do campaign commercials for you. Your daughter doesn’t have a state email account. You have not suggested that your son is advising your administration.


  29. - Whatever - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    I wonder if Diana has been emailing the staff to recommend the response to questions about her emails? Good messagin’


  30. - DuPage - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Rauner:==And let me be crystal clear==

    Starting to remind me of Nixon’s “let me be

    perfectly clear”.


  31. - Winnin' - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    Bruce, leave Diana out of this.


  32. - FSF - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    Another good thread for this quote in our new Gilded Age:

    “They were careless people, Bruce and Diana - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

    As is not necessarily uncommon in the world of commercial marketing, the “brand” may be at variance with the quality of the actual product. But, eventually consumers wise up and no marketing budget can convince people to buy a Yugo.

    The Rauners are phonies and flimflam artists. Due to their hubris and fond mirror-gazing they got rid of the Broadway-caliber makeup artists who helped them mostly to mask it and replaced them with the grade school drama club crew.


  33. - Father Ted - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    “And let me be crystal clear, I decide who will be members of my senior staff. Nobody else decides, I decide. I decide what the policies of our administration are gonna be. Nobody else decides, I decide. I get input from many people, both in the administration and outside the administration, experts in the different fields, I like to get advice. But I decide, no one else decides…”

    On the plus side, he finally decided to own responsibility for something. And that will be what he says until the next time he has to fire someone within a matter of hours, like his body man. That, obviously, wasn’t his fault.


  34. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Merits aside, it may be good politics. I remember when Jerry Brown asked fair questions about Hillary Clinton shortly before a primary debate with Bill Clinton. Bill acted all offended, wagged his fingers and said “don’t you dare accuse my wife…” and it played well.


  35. - Mike Cirrincione - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Diana ran for Assistant Governor when she starred in the TV Commercials.

    The Faux outrage of Bruce and the rest of the Republican party, who want to have their cake and eat it too, is getting old.


  36. - HoneyBadger - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    So nice to see the Bruce and Diana being called out for who they really are, wealthy, suburban white people who only care about themselves. A phony baloney Democrat who funds GOP campaigns with millions of dollars. A phony baloney North Shore rich white guy who clouted his daughter into a Chicago prep school, while denying a deserving Chicago student the opportunity.

    Sounding more and more like Trump every day. The only thing they have going for them is Diana does not plagiarize Michelle Obama.


  37. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Referring to International Woman’s Day, “Honestly, I hate this day.” Diana Rauner
    Looking forward for more nuggets like this when the emails are (eventually)released.
    It amazes me that a doctor, a professional woman, hates the UN day that promotes equality all over the world; a world where some women are married off at 12 and aren’t allowed to even get the most basic education.


  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    This Chicago magazine article does a good job of explaining how the First Couple came to be.

    http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2014/Bruce-Rauner/


  39. - EconGrowthNow - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    Ah, so Progressive Democrats have total ownership over depictions of people of color? What a crock from a bunch of true Uncle atoms and north shore liberals who protect only themselves. The Chicago Democrat machine has been destroying the lives of black and brown people since its inception. And of course, the loudest voices on this “controversy” are the ones personally keeping their black and brown communities in perennial joblessness and violence. If they cared one bit about these poor people, the bloodshed would end, the schools would actually graduate children, and adults would have gainful employment. Until then, they will distract, spend our money on their cronies and sow racial division to win more power. They have no other playbook. #SaulAlinsky


  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    Econ, black kids don’t graduate from high school and black adults don’t work?

    Are you sure? I mean, you’re the caring sociologist and historian and alll…..


  41. - Mama - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Could Bruce be using his wife’s e-mail account so people will blame his wife instead of him for firing his staff?


  42. - pawn - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    People who feel entitled to things feel entitled to all things, apparently.


  43. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Sounds like Diana ain’t very good at governin” either.


  44. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Econ, whoops wrong thread dude. But how would you stop the violence? Defund schools? Please be specific.


  45. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    The price of perfidy is mistrust.

    Now Mrs Rauner is mistrusted.

    they need to take responsibility.


  46. - seiun - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    Ounce of Prevention should calculate the impact of their decision to retain Mrs Rauner

    I’d say she’s a liability amongst the donor class at this point.


  47. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    Women should be offended by Bruce the Protector. Can’t Diana respond as to whether she’s being attacked or not? If so, how exactly?


  48. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    Also, way to tamp down the issue of Diana’s part in your farce Bruce.


  49. - Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Ponts to Reality lol.

    OW more bullet points… our nation cant soend time reading that much we need fast consumable quotes. sppednis preffered over accuracy. See Fox and Friends

    BTW dont taxpayers pay for a chief of staff for the first lady? seems a legit open government question since she has state employees.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    - Ghost -

    Sometimes brevity for its own sake won’t give clarity.

    … or somethin’-somethin’, what can ya do.

    To - @MisterJayEm -

    Thanks as always for your kind words.

    OW


  51. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    From the Sun-Times article: “In an email from March 8 about whether or not to post a tweet to her page about International Women’s Day, Diana Rauner wrote, ‘Honestly I hate this day. Let’s slow down and only post substantive things.’”

    I imagine that tweet alone is going to go over really well come campaignin’ time.


  52. - FLEA - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    He’s the decider.


  53. - RNUG - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    == He’s the decider. ==

    But only when he decides to decide.


  54. - Flynn's mom - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 2:41 pm:

    Even when he decides to decide, he’s not sure what he has decided to decide. It’s the old Rauner hocus pocus.


  55. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    “But only when he decides to decide.” And if you choose not to decide you still haven’t made a choice. I choose Free Will.


  56. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Wednesday, Aug 16, 17 @ 6:48 pm:

    The press is broken.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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