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Rauner Dodges Responsibility for his Office’s Failures, Throws Staff Under Bus

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Former Business Executive Shows No Leadership or Management Skills

Late last night, four members of Governor Bruce Rauner’s communications staff were pushed out, as part of the fallout from the Illinois Policy Institute cartoon controversy. The Chicago Tribunereported Rauner claimed these staffers just were not a “good fit” in his organization. Later in the morning, Rauner, a former business executive, formally pushed them under the bus on the way out:

Reporter: Governor, who approved the statement that was put out that has caused so much angst for you. Did you see it? Did you approve it? And if not, who did and perhaps why are they still working for your staff?

Rauner: You’re referring to an email that went out on Tuesday. [Yes, the white male statement]. That email was sent without my…I did not have knowledge of it. I did not approve it. And I put out, along with our senior staff, a subsequent statement to clarify.

Reporter: Who did approve it?

Rauner: It went out from our senior communications staff.

Reporter: [inaudible]

Rauner: I believe it was drafted by Diana Rickert. And send out on the email from Laura Patrick.  

Governor Rauner kept the controversy alive for over a week by refusing to look at a cartoon and comment on it. Instead, Rauner continually dodged questions or defended the cartoon by claiming others did not feel it was racist. The rest of this morning’s press conference showed that Rauner was simply blaming others to make his failure to take the issue head-on:

Rauner: I have seen it now. I can understand why some people would be upset by it. […]

Reporter: Governor, do you think that that cartoon is racist.

Rauner: Um, I understand why some people are upset by it.

Reporter: Are you upset by it, sir?

Rauner: I understand why some people are upset by it. My job is not to comment on every cartoon, every political statement that comes from outside our administration, and I will not do that.

While Bruce Rauner was running in 2013, he said he was ready to be governor because of the skills mastered in the private sector:

Being a successful CEO, where I’ve driven a bottom line, assembled teams, driven results, that’s a critical benefit to running the state government. A CEO’s job is leadership, problem solving, and team building. I’ve done that my whole career.

Results. Team Building. Leadership. Today, he’s short in all three.

“Bruce Rauner is never shy about blaming others for his own failures,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “But Rauner cannot escape the fact that he spent a week hiding on an issue that required moral leadership from the state’s governor. Illinois voters deserve a Governor who will not shy away from politically inconvenient fights. This entire controversy has laid bare Bruce Rauner’s failure to lead.”