Rauner waffles again on Donald Trump while McCann embraces him

President Trump is scheduled to visit Thursday a once-shuttered U.S. Steel plant in Granite City, located in the Metro East area of Illinois across from St. Louis. The plant is reopening as a result of tariffs on imports of foreign steel imposed by Trump, prompting renewed demand for domestic steel.

However, incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is refusing to meet Trump on his first visit to Illinois since his election.

“I heard the president is coming to Granite City, I think either Thursday or Friday,” Rauner said Monday in Wheaton. “I, uh, I do not plan to go. I was just in Granite City just in the past week,” he said.

Granite City is the site of a U.S. Steel Corp. mill that is reopening, a move credited to new tariffs on imported steel. But that trade war also has had negative effects, with Illinois soybean farmers feeling the pinch due to tariffs China imposed on that product.

Conservative Sen. Sam McCann responds

McCann responded on Twitter to the news by saying to the President that “unlike” Rauner, “I’ll have a gift for you” in Granite City.

McCann, running under the Conservative Party banner, then posted a picture of a red hat, similar to the president’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hats, but this one saying, “Let’s Rebuild Illinois Together” along with a red McCann campaign shirt.

Chicken Rauner?

Rauner often has distanced himself from Trump to the point of even avoiding saying the president’s name. Earlier this month, though, he appeared with Vice President Mike Pence at an event in Rosemont.

It wasn’t long after the Trump visit was announced that Rauner’s Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker, was making an issue of Rauner’s constant sidesteps with regard to the president.

A Pritzker spokesman taunted the governor, asking if Rauner would embrace the president, or “run scared.”

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.

Donald 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 Donald Trump’s victory, Rauner offered no congratulations. He skipped the President’s inauguration and boycotted the White House’s dinner with 46 U.S. governors in early 2017. Rauner has refused to mention the President’s name in two years.

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