Rauner: “I disagree with the characterization of turmoil,” blames Madigan, dodges questions on cartoon
Thursday, Aug 24, 2017
* The governor was not scheduled to take questions from reporters today, but to his credit he did. You can click here to watch.
Gov. Rauner said that Tuesday’s infamous “as a white male” press release was drafted by Diana Rickert and sent out by Laurel Patrick. Both of those folks have resigned.
* Gov. Rauner also revealed that he has seen the Illinois Policy Institute’s cartoon. “I can see why some people would be upset about it,” he said. Rauner then claimed that part of the reason he ran for governor was because he wanted a more “just system,” and pointed at the Chicago public schools as an example of something that needs to be fixed.
Rauner was asked if he thought the cartoon was racist. “I understand why some people are upset by it.” He then repeated that line when asked again.
When it was pointed out to him that the cartoon was published by an organization he has supported and is his “go-to” think tank, Rauner said: “I have not leaned on them as my go-to think tank. That is not an accurate statement… I do have a few folks in my administration who used to work there… A very tiny fraction of our administration is from that organization… In no regard does that organization speak for me.”
* Asked about all the recent turnover, Rauner said: “The work that we do for the people of Illinois is incredibly difficult” and stressful. He complained about “false rumors,” political attacks and online attacks that had to be dealt with. Getting people who are willing to do the jobs isn’t easy. “We’ll always work to have great people who are willing to do it,” he said.
Asked if the turmoil in his administration could undermine his ability to work with the General Assembly on education funding reform. “I disagree with the characterization of turmoil,” he said.
“A handful of people” have changed, he insisted and claimed that his “only frustration” is Speaker Madigan, who he said “sat on SB1″ for two months to create a crisis.
* “Yes or no, is the cartoon inappropriate?” he was asked at the end of his press conference. Another reporter asked, “It sounds like you agree with the message of the cartoon, is that correct?” Rauner talked extensively about Chicago’s TIF districts when speaking of his reaction to the cartoon. But the governor walked away without answering either question.