One day after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he could not yet support Donald Trump for President, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner quickly followed suit. Rauner said he would not endorse the presumptive GOP nominee or attend the national GOP convention in Cleveland.
Yet Rauner had no problem endorsing Rahm Emanuel for re-election as Chicago’s Mayor in 2015.
In fact, Rauner lobbied
for Rahm, his longtime friend
and business partner, behind-the-scenes. Forced into a historic runoff that could have put the kibosh on his political career, Emanuel desperately needed GOP votes and dollars and – thanks to Rauner – he got them.
Rauner and Rahm even share donors like Citadel hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. Griffin donated $4.6 million to Rauner’s campaign and use of his private jet. Griffin has also contributed
hundreds of thousands to Emanuel’s political coffers and enjoys weekly private meetings with the mayor. He previously bundled thousands for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential run too.
After he was elected, Rauner quickly peppered his transition team with Democrat political insiders. He named Bill Daley — former White House chief of staff to President Obama and son of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley — to his transition team.
His dealings with Daley go way back to 2001 when GTCR, in purchasing a company from SBC Communications, tapped Rahm to secure
an FCC exemption from the Clinton White House. The deal scored GTCR a half billion dollars in six months and made Rahm a millionaire. Daley was the President of SBC at the time.
There’s more. For decades, Rauner donated millions to Democrat candidates, the DNC, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU’s Reproductive Rights Project. In return for his contributions, he was “rewarded.” In 2002, he donated
$300,000 to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s campaign.
After Rendell’s election, the state doubled its stake in GTCR funds to $226 million. His firm, GTCR, made millions managing state union pension funds, including the $39 billion Illinois Teachers Retirement System and $13 billion State Board of Investment – now both run by his gubernatorial appointees.
Rauner even cut a $25,000 a month deal with Rod Blagojevich’s political fixer Stuart Levine, who is currently serving 5 1/2 years in federal prison for fraud.
This is what passes as a Republican in Illinois and the damage can’t be calculated.
In Illinois’ recent primaries, Rauner’s groups donated
millions to Ken Dunkin, a Democrat state representative with a criminal record for battery and violating protection orders — one order even claimed Dunkin choked a woman using a phone cord. Fueled by Sam Zell, a major donor to Planned Parenthood, Rauner’s super PAC also targeted pro-life Republican incumbents and candidates for defeat.
Yet this troubling history didn’t stop “principled conservatives” like former FreedomWorks Chairman Matt Kibbe from joining
Rauner’s exploratory committee for Illinois governor in 2014.
Kibbe, now a contributor to Mark Levin’s Conservative Review, is also an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump. Kibbe writes
: "My beef with Trump has nothing to do with the very real questions about his previously-held liberal positions on issues. My friend Glenn Beck has done a good job documenting those. No one knows, but my suspicion is that The Donald doesn’t really have many well-defined views on political philosophy."
Wasn’t Kibbe troubled by Rauner’s Democrat history or crooked political philosophy?
By comparison to Rauner, Donald Trump is Ronald Reagan reincarnate. He’s Abe Lincoln without the hat. So why has Rauner been insulated from any criticism by national GOP thought leaders?
For instance, the National Review, a leader of the #NeverTrump movement, has heralded Rauner as “Illinois’ Scott Walker.”
Even Sen. Ted Cruz headlined a fundraiser honoring Gov. Rauner back in March without any apparent crisis of conservative conscience.
Isit all just posturing then? Or does it just depend on who is lining your pockets?
If Sen. Lindsey Graham were the GOP nominee, would Gov. Rauner have endorsed him like he endorsed Rahm? Would Redstate Editor Erick Erickson, another #NeverTrumper, who says, “I guess I’m not a Republican anymore” have been OK with a President Graham? The same Sen. Lindsey Graham who had a national polling average of 0.5 percent on the day he dropped out of the presidential race? If the past serves as any guide, they would have been fine with that.
These conservative poseurs have had control long enough. The destruction they’ve wrought is all around us.
For decades, I have supported the GOP presidential nominee. I’ve held my nose so often, I can barely breathe. Joining many like-minded conservative voters, I believed our GOP leaders when they promised a principled resistance to Obamacare and illegal immigration during the 2014 midterm elections. But there was never any principle or resistance.
Sadly, it is these Republican leaders – Speaker Paul Ryan included – who have betrayed the trust of Republican voters and Donald Trump’s candidacy is their comeuppance.
The GOP ruling class claims Trump will destroy the Republican brand. But they destroyed that brand a long time ago.
William J. Kelly is an American producer, television and radio host, commentator, media strategist, and critic. In 1994, he ran for U.S. Congress. In 2015, he made waves when he busted the campaign finance caps in the Chicago mayor’s race. He is the founder of RevDigital, an independent TV and documentary production house. Kelly is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, American Spectator, and others. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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