It takes awhile, but Rauner says Va. violence is ‘domestic terrorism’

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Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday was offered an opportunity to call the violent behavior in Virginia over the weekend “terrorism” — and he stumbled.

Not stumbling was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who accused President Donald Trump of all-but-winking at white supremacists.

While Rauner wouldn’t use the term “terrorism” in talking to reporters after a Monday morning bill-signing in Chicago, his office later issued a statement with stronger language.

“The deadly violence in Charlottesville this weekend is abhorrent and absolutely an act of domestic terrorism. Racism, hatred and violence have no place in our society,” the emailed statement said. “The individuals responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Earlier Monday, Rauner haad called the conduct “appalling” and “completely beyond anything that America should be about.”

He refused to call the violence in Charlottesville “terrorism,” but said in response to an Illinois Senate measure classifying neo-Nazis as terror groups: “If they want to classify that as terrorism, I support it.”

He did not mention Trump’s initial response to the crisis, which many politicians — including some from his own party — criticized as weak, but said that “all of us as Americans have to be strong against this.”

“The behavior is appalling, completely beyond anything that America should be about,” Rauner said Monday after bill-signing ceremony in Chicago. “There is no place in American society and American political discourse for racism or hatred or violence.”

He refused to call the violence in Charlottesville “terrorism,” but said in response to an Illinois Senate measure classifying neo-Nazis as terror groups: “If they want to classify that as terrorism, I support it.”

He did not mention President Donald Trump’s initial response to the crisis, which many politicians — including some from his own party — criticized as weak, but said that “all of us as Americans have to be strong against this.”

Later on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel accused Trump of giving Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan reason to believe that they have a “friend in the White House.”

In an impromptu and emotional address before the City Club of Chicago, Emanuel joined a parade of politicians in both parties to criticize Trump for his timid reaction to the white nationalist rally-turned-deadly in Charlottesville, Va.

The rally was called to protest the city’s decision to tear down a statue of Confederate Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee. It turned deadly when a man identified as a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

“The notion that, when the bully pulpit of the American Presidency is to be exercised and you miss the distinctions between our ideals and our values and those who spew hatred, you have failed us in the job of a President to bring this country together,” Emanuel said.

“It does not require a multiple-choice answer when it comes to what’s right vs. what’s wrong. And what’s more frightening is that those who are members of the Neo-Nazis and the KKK think they have a friend in the Oval Office.”

The Democratic Governors’ Association, which has Rauner in its sights for his 2018 re-election battle, soon issued a news release, saying Rauner had to be “shamed” into using harsher language.

“This is an unacceptable failure to lead by Governor Bruce Rauner,” the group’s statement said, saying that instead of taking a stand, Rauner “stuck to political talking points.”


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