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Unanswered Questions from Rauner’s Dueling Statements Like – “Who’s Getting Fired?”

As the Illinois Policy Institute cartoon story officially enters its second week, Governor Bruce Rauner (and his staff) spent yesterday issuing and re-issuing statements about the cartoon. While Rauner claims his second statement “did not accurately reflect his views” (a stunning admission), he does not condemn any phrase or thought in the first statement. In fact, both statements are essentially the same in content and intent.
Instead, Rauner’s dueling statements create more questions for the Governor to answer:

  1. Will Rauner’s staff face any discipline for issuing a statement that “did not accurately reflect” his view?
  2. In the first statement, Rauner says he has “nothing to add” as a “white male.” In the second, Rauner says as Governor, he should not comment on “every cartoon or picture.” As the leader of this state, why does Governor Rauner believe he has nothing to add to this debate?
  3. In both statements, Rauner suggests that “different people react differently” to the cartoon. Why does Rauner continue to validate the views the IPI expresses?
  4. Rauner says he can “understand why some people found the cartoon offensive.” Does that mean he’s seen it, or does that mean he’s basing this all on second-hand information?
  5. Over a month into the staff purge, does Rauner believe his new IPI-lead team is helping with his communication effort?
  6. Why does Rauner continue to refuse to condemn this cartoon?

Bruce Rauner filled his office with top aides from the Illinois Policy Institute. The IPI drew a cartoon that was condemned by many as racist. Governor Rauner has gone to great lengths to avoid condemning the IPI. Why does Rauner continue to protect his allies rather than do what is right?
“Governor Rauner and his staff continue to fumble their way through a crisis that has a simple solution,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Instead Rauner would rather try and wiggle his way out of taking a stand this obviously offensive cartoon produced by his political allies. Illinois families deserve a Governor who will not shrink from the politically tough fights. This cartoon has laid bare Rauner’s absolute failure of leadership.”


1st Statement (link):
Charges of racism must be taken very seriously. The tragedy in Charlottesville and its aftermath serve as sobering reminders that even today, some remain who would use violence and hate to divide us. We must never relent in working toward a future built not on what divides us, but what unites us.
The governor would never try to talk anyone out of their reaction to any piece of art, political or nonpolitical, right or left, good or bad. Those reactions deserve respect on their own terms.
The governor has great respect for the black caucus and members of the General Assembly who voiced concerns about the cartoon. The governor’s office has also heard from members of the black community who found truth in the imagery and do not find the cartoon offensive. Here is where things stand: The cartoon was removed days ago. And the governor – as a white male – does not have anything more to add to the discussion.
The fixation on this cartoon and the governor’s opinion of it has been disappointing. What the media and political class should be concerned about is ensuring schools open on time and stay open with a fair funding formula. Now is the time to come together to do what’s right for all of Illinois’ children.
2nd Statement (link):
Earlier today an email went out from my office that did not accurately reflect my views. I can understand why some people found the cartoon offensive. And I believe we should do more as a society and a nation to bring us together, rather than divide us.
There are many passionate people engaged in public policy debates, and different people react differently.
It is not my place to comment on every cartoon or picture that comes from people outside the governor’s office or to tell people how they should feel.
I urge everyone to put this behind us so we can focus on solving the very real challenges of education fairness and economic opportunity facing our state.