Gov. Bruce Rauner was noticeably absent Monday as President Donald Trump once again highlighted Chicago’s surging violence during a White House speech to the nation’s other 49 governors.
“You look what’s happening in Chicago,” Trump told members of the National Governors Association. " What’s going on in Chicago? We will fight violent crime and we will win. And we will win that one fairly quickly. Once we give the police, local law enforcement the right to go in and fight it and we back them monetarily and also otherwise.”
Ahead of his first speech Tuesday to a Joint Session of Congress, Trump vowed to increase federal spending to “fight violent crime” in the country.
Despite meeting in Washington this weekend with members of the Republican Governors Association, Rauner chose to skip the NGA meetings for the second straight year. Rauner opted out of Monday’s activities, which included meetings about the nation’s health care system, as well as Sunday's annual Govenor’s Ball, where Trump hosted 46 governors at the White House.
Nevertheless, the governor, who was at Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital Monday announcing plans to improve the state’s Medicaid services, said he has been in contact with the Trump administration.
“I have personally been in communications with members of the Trump administration… On violence issues, the folks who are developing the policy,” Rauner said without offering details on the policy or the people he’s been in touch with.
“I’ll meet with the president any time,” Rauner said. “As I’ve mentioned, I’ve talked with him on the phone. I have a very close working relationship vice president pence, many leaders in the transition team."
Last month, Trump vowed to “send in the feds” if Chicago officials can’t get a grip on the city’s “carnage."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded, calling for additional federal resources before traveling to the nation’s capital earlier this month to discuss how the federal government can help address the city’s violent crime. During the trip, he spoke to members of Trump’s senior staff, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
"Over the last three months, the Mayor has repeatedly made specific requests of the Administration, including more resources and coordination among law enforcement agencies; prioritizing federal prosecutions of gun crimes; and funding for mentoring and summer and after-school programs," Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.
"We're still waiting on any follow-through, and are hopeful the President will soon provide details, not more of the same rhetoric."