Gov. Rauner said there was “no place in our political conversation” for vulgar language reportedly used by President Trump in a meeting on immigration, but would not call the president racist.
The governor, who was appearing on WVON radio on Monday, was asked about Trump’s description of places like Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “sh*tholes.” The president made those comments in a meeting to discuss a bipartisan agreement on immigration, according to Sen. Dick Durbin. Trump denies he used that language.
Rauner was asked directly by WVON’s morning show host Maze Jackson if Trump was a racist and Rauner wouldn’t answer, saying again that such language as no place in politics.
Co-host Charles Thomas pressed the governor again, saying “you won’t call him a racist?”
“You know what? We have racists in our society,” Rauner said. “We have got to come together to change the system in Illinois. Illinois is broken. Our system is broken. African-American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.”
MAZE JACKSON: “The President of the United States used language that we’ve never heard before, we call – we said he said ‘shitolee’ on this show. You heard his comments. Is Donald Trump racist? Is he a racist?”
RAUNER: “I’ll say this. That language has no place in our political conversation.”
JACKSON: “But is he a racist?”
RAUNER: “That language has no place in our political conversation.”
JACKSON: “But we’ve got it. We heard it. He said it. So it’s in the universe. So, to a – to the Haitians that live in this city, in the state – what’s up with Donald Trump? How do you respond to that?”
RAUNER: “That language has no place in our political conversation.”
CHARLES THOMAS: “But you won’t call him a racist?”
RAUNER: “No place.”
THOMAS: “Is David Duke a racist? I mean, is… what about Donald Trump?
RAUNER: “You know what? We have racists in our society. We have got to come together to change the system in Illinois. Illinois is broken. Our system is broken. African American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.”
“Donald Trump built his political career on pitting our communities against each other and now spews vile, hateful language from the White House on a daily basis,” said JB Pritzker. “From casual private conversation to tweets seen around the world, Trump’s racist views and words sadly represent our country. Strong state leaders have pushed back and defended the communities that are under attack by this president, but Bruce Rauner is sitting on the sidelines. To have the governor of this state remain silent and refuse to call Trump what he clearly is — a racist — is an embarrassing insult to communities across Illinois. Bruce Rauner’s corrupt pact with Trump, ratified by his silence, must end.”
Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner refused in a morning interview on WVON 1690 AM to apply the “racist” label not only to Trump, but to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. The campaign of J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat running to challenge Rauner, quickly pounced.
“The governor believes that David Duke is a racist,” Justin Giorgio, a spokesman for
Rauner’s campaign, said later in an email. “As he stated in his interview this morning, the governor is working to bring all Illinoisans together to overcome the racism that exists in our society.”
…Adding… Pritzker campaign…
During a WVON interview yesterday, Bruce Rauner refused to call former KKK leader David Duke a racist.
Rauner fell back on his favorite talking point, “our system is broken,” to avoid criticizing the notorious white supremacist. While a spokesman later attempted to clean up Rauner’s dodge, Rauner failed to answer a simple question about one of the country’s foremost bigots.
“It is abundantly clear that former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is racist and it is inexcusable that Bruce Rauner would rather mince words than answer a simple question,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Instead of having a spine and standing up for what’s right, Rauner dodges even the most basic of questions to avoid giving Illinoisans the answers they deserve.”
* Sen. Kwame Raoul…
Gov. Rauner’s refusal to call former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke a racist on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is flat out Trumpian.
Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter and Bruce Rauner’s inability to clearly state that David Duke is a racist is pretty damning.
In the spirit of MLK, I’m asking that we all speak out against the injustices that are taking place in our communities and across the state. We must speak a little bit louder against hate. We must speak a little bit louder against fear. And we must unabashedly speak louder against those who try to divide us!
Like clockwork, Governor Bruce Rauner was in the news again for failing to take a strong moral stand on an easy-to-call situation. Yesterday, during an interview with WVON, Governor Bruce Rauner was pressed on President Donald Trump’s most recent and outrageous comments on immigrants. Rauner fell back on talking points, refused to address the substance on Trump’s comments, and would not condemn David Duke as “racist.”
Rauner’s campaign later clarified that, of course, he believed David Duke was racist. But the WVON interview is another example, just in the past six months, of Rauner’s reluctance to show real leadership on moral issues:
Charlottesville and Terrorism: Rauner initially refused to use the term “terrorism” to describe the Neo-Nazi attacks in Charlottesville. Rauner had to be shamed into clarifying his language later that day.
Charlottesville and Trump: Rauner waited days to addressed President Trump’s “both sides” comments on Charlottesville, and only after Trump repeated his comments. Rauner was questioned by reporters why he initially didn’t use Trump’s name in his condemnation of his language.
Illinois Policy Institute Cartoon: Rauner infamously refused to look at a cartoon denounced by the Illinois legislature, but drawn by his close allies at the IPI. A week-long saga would eventually result in Rauner’s office issuing a statement that said, “as a white male”, he had nothing to add. Multiple communications staffers were fired.
Anthem Protests: Despite his tepidity to address pretty much any issue spurred by Trump, Rauner jumped into the debate on protests at football games, siding with the President.
The pattern is getting hard to ignore.
“Bruce Rauner’s wait-and-see approach to leadership really clarifies who he’s looking out for, and it’s not Illinois residents,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Time after time, Rauner has had to be shamed into taking a moral stand on issues offensive or upsetting to Illinoisans. Rauner’s reluctance to take on President Trump is only hurting Illinois families.”
No. What. What? What do I know? I know you’re going to dodge that Donald Trump is being questioned as racist but you won’t say either way…. that’s what?
This is a failed governor on total display…
===RAUNER: “You know what? (No, what?) We have racists in our society. We have got to come together to change the system in Illinois. Illinois is *pineapple*. Our system is *pineapple*. African American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.”===
“RAUNER: ‘African American families are suffering in Illinois. It’s worse than anywhere with unemployment. We have got to change our system.’…”
The thing the Governor doesn’t seem to understand is he has nothing to lose at this point. He’s in as tough of a reelection race as he can be and the thing that might just save him a bit is being a human being and calling out bigotry.
You want to preserve your status on the cocktail circuit tear into Trump and say what I think you feel Governor. Be a human being.
I know they’re not as hostile generally, but it was 100% predictable that Rauner would be pushed about the Trump stuff and that he was going to bob and weave and generally look like a schmo in the process. He couldn’t win that one. And btw, I’m not excusing his pathetic inability to call David Duke a racist and dodge on Trump. Just befuddled that he would do this.
This shows once again that Mr. Rauner’s communications skills end at “Madigan bad.”
For a guy who may well be very intelligent, he does not seem to think well on his feet.
In the alternative (assuming for a second that the performance was intentional), you do have to wonder if he’s more concerned about the GOP’s hard line base than he lets on.
Condemning racism probably does not play well to GOP primary voters. Had he made a comment, I suspect the Ives people would be suggesting he’s a “race-baiter” in the pocket of not just Madigan but Sen. Durbin.
If that’s true though — if this really was on purpose — that does say terrible things about his character. Maybe he really is the person Democrats have claimed that he is.
–I’ve read elsewhere that the racist part of Trump’s question wasn’t sh*thole, but “Why the United States would want to have (immigrants from Haiti and African nations).”–
Yes, he said he didn’t want “the people” from those countries, a blanket statement, not judging anyone by their skills or the content of their character, but on guess what?
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security just testified to a Senate committee that in addition to her terrible hearing loss, she does not know whether or not Norway is a predominantly white country.
If your electoral success depends on not alienating a voter base that would be turned off by you calling out racist behavior as racist then you have zero to gain sitting for an interview with WVON.
I get Rauner’s comments. He’s an unprincipled coward with weak character. What I dont get is why he went on the show. Unless he thought Maze would give him a soft interview because of their Ken Dunkin project together
“No surprise Democratic Illinois politicians are trying to deflect all of Illinois problems onto David Duke, Donald Trump and Governor Rauner.”
LP, I believe what you meant to say was, “yea, that was really weird. Why wouldn’t he call out David Duke as a racist…or put a qualifier in there like ‘if he said it’ or something. Boy Bruce makes it really hard to defend him.”
Speaking of senate hearings on homelamd security. Both Hatch and Leahy need to be put out to pasture. Maybe they can join old Blue at the McDonalds coffee brain trust each morning to round out the table of has beens.
They’re actually not as hostile to him as you’d think.–
Not hostile at all. Jackson was on the Rauner gravy train during the Dunkin primary. Thomas has called Rauner a “fiscal conservative” despite all evidence to the contrary.
Rauner wasn’t in the lion’s den. He got a beach ball down Broadway but was scared to swing and move off his scripted chanting because he babbles incoherently when speaking extemperaneously.
It occurs to me now that Rauner might not have known who David Duke is. In his public comments, his universe is pretty much limited to “Because Madigan, regulations, Chicago Democrats, blah, blah, blah.”
He’s never demonstrated much interest or knowledge of the world outside those talking points.