Rauner and Staff Twice Defend Illinois Policy Institute on Racist Cartoon

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Rauner’s Strange Defense Comes on Week He Was Slow to Criticize President Trump’s Divisive Rhetoric

After sitting out the debate on the Illinois Policy Institute’s cartoon, Governor Bruce Rauner’s office twice defended the Institute and deflected on charges the cartoon was racist. Rauner’s defense of the cartoon is strange considering a group of bipartisan legislators stood on the House Floor denouncing the cartoon just days previously. Perhaps Governor Rauner is loath to criticize the Institute that now consists of a large part of his top aide staff.
Governor Rauner’s top communication staffer, recently hired from the IPI, attacked critics of the cartoon for accusing the Institute of racism.
“‘It’s a terrible thing for people to be bringing up now,’ [Diana Rickert] said. ‘To be accusing somebody falsely of racism, or try to insinuate that people in this office are racist, is disgusting when the country is trying to recover from this tragedy.’”
Then on WBEZ’s Morning Shift, Bruce Rauner said he heard about the cartoon and that hosts of the radio station WVON did not find the cartoon racist.
“Tony, I have not seen the cartoon. But, I’ve heard about it. I’ll say this. All of us need to stand against racism and bigotry, in all of its forms. And I’ve been passionate about this my whole life. What I’ve been told about the cartoon was that, for example, yesterday, on WVON, the radio host there said they don’t view it as racist or bigoted at all and that their listeners didn’t either. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the cartoon, but what we need to do in Illinois is focus on social justice and equity especially for our minority students and get fair funding for all of our kids in the state of Illinois.”
For all the time that the Governor’s office has spent talking about or hearing about the IPI cartoon, it’s strange that Rauner never found the time to actually look at it. Weird how that works.
Governor Rauner has had a tough week. On Monday, he failed to call the attack in Charlottesville “terrorism.” And it was not until Wednesday that Rauner finally criticized President Trump for his incredibly insensitive comments about Charlottesville.
“This is Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership in action,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Governor Rauner would rather defend his political allies than tackle a sensitive subject head-on. This is not new – Illinois families have repeatedly seen Rauner dodge on issues of importance to them but politically inconvenient for Rauner. From his awkward comments on Charlottesville to his belated criticism of President Trump, Governor Rauner spent the week failing the leadership test. Today is just another example.”