Is Rauner a neocon political coward for his failure to support President Trump?
“I am aware of what he [Trump] said yesterday, and I was deeply troubled by it — deeply troubled,” Gov. Rauner told reporters at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon following a bill signing.
“We should not be defending the Russians’ behavior,” Rauner said. “Putin is a brutal dictator. The Russians are not our friends. … Russia is an enemy of ours. They’re out for themselves, not for us.”
Rauner stands in agreement with neoconservative and pro-war Republicans like Sen. John McCain and left-wing Democrats like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Maxine Waters who immediately denounced the President as a traitor for his attempt to thaw US-Russia relations. Democrats are still seething over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss and desperately need a scapegoat for the surprising loss and their go-to narrative is Russian collusion.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) denounced the Democrat/Deep State Republican hysteria as “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Meeting with adversaries should be “lauded and not belittled,” Paul said.
Rauner has long been part of the #NeverTrump crowd.
Rauner never supported Donald Trump – before he was elected and even after. During the campaign, Rauner made anti-Trump statements to the media. He was Team Hillary. He wasn’t on the Republican team. He didn’t want Trump to win – he wanted Hillary Clinton to win.
In March 2016, Rauner promised to back the eventual Republican nominee for President, regardless of the victor. After the Illinois primary, Rauner changed his mind and refused to formally endorse Trump. He also declined to lead the Illinois delegation at the GOP convention in Cleveland. To make matters worse, he didn’t even bother to attend the National GOP Convention at all – the political equivalent of thumbing his nose at Trump.
Trump made a campaign stop in Chicago in July 2016 and Governor Rauner snubbed him again.
He didn’t endorse Trump for President. At the 2016 Columbus Day Parade in Chicago, he said he didn’t endorse Trump for President and lashed out at Trump for comments made on to Ryan Seacrest on the NBC released audio tape.
“The rhetoric, the language, the statements in that tape that’s recently come out — disgusting, appalling, outrageous, beyond any reasonable bounds of decency,” Rauner said. Rauner refused to offer any criticism of Hillary Clinton, her email scandal or her anti-religious bigotry.
After Trump’s victory, Rauner offered no congratulations. He skipped the President’s inauguration and boycotted Trump’s dinner with 46 U.S. governors at the White House in early 2017. Rauner has refused to mention Trump’s name in two years.
Rauner embraced Vice President Pence but waffled on whether he supported Trump.
Last week, just days after a rare utterance of President Donald Trump’s name, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday was back to trying to avoid discussing the president altogether.
The Republican governor has consistently tried to remain neutral on the matter of Trump, even going so far as to avoid saying Trump’s name. But Rauner dropped the “T-word” at a Friday pro-Trump rally in Rosemont, standing beside Vice President Mike Pence.
“Mike Pence did it for the Hoosiers, and now Mike Pence along with President Trump are doing it for every American right now,” Rauner said at the event.
Rauner backed up his praise for Pence on Monday, but wouldn’t answer whether his approval of Pence implied a pro-Trump stance. When asked directly whether he supported Trump, Rauner said he’s “supportive of many things,” such as tax cuts and rollback of regulations, but he opposed the way the administration handled the Charlottesville violence or the separation of children at the border.