Rahm Emanuel

Emanuel Loses Cool When Reporter Asks About Family Trip to Cuba

After remaining relatively quiet and composed in the days since the Laquan McDonald dashcam video was released, Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed his feisty side Wednesday when he lashed out at a Politico reporter for asking him about his family's upcoming trip to Cuba.

In a Politico Playbook event in Chicago, reporter Mike Allen ended an hour-long public interview with Emanuel by asking him a seemingly lighthearted question about why he chose Cuba for his family's annual holiday trip, a detail Emanuel apparently revealed to Allen backstage.

Emanuel appeared not to take the question lightly.

"Well, first of all, thanks for telling everyone what I'm going to do with my family," the mayor said. "You had a private conversation with me and now you decide to make that public. I really don't appreciate that. I really don't."

The mayor is a characteristically private man when it comes to his family life. His wife, Amy Rule, rarely makes public appearances alongside her husband, and his children are never in the spotlight, with the notable exception of the robbery of his teenage son last year.

The Emanuel family trips are also usually very private events, with as little publicity surrounding them as possible. In case Allen didn't know this, Emanuel told him point blank, "I'm expressing to you publicly now my displeasure." 

Despite his anger about Allen's question and the revelation of his holiday destination, the mayor spoke briefly about the upcoming trip and discussed the benefits of his children learning about other cultures and ways of life.

"This year, if my wife doesn't kill me now because of what you just did, we will take our kids to Cuba to be exposed to that culture, the same way they've been to India, the same way they've been to Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Chile and Vietnam." 

Allen listened calmly to Emanuel's answer and then apologized for his question, but the mayor cut him off to tell him that an apology is "not going to work." He also said he wanted Allen's cellphone number, so Rule could give him a talking to.

The conversation ended awkwardly as Allen turned to thank the audience and all those who organized the Politico event as Emanuel sat straight-faced.

Despite the series of controversial events in Chicago in the past few weeks — from the release of the McDonald video to the firing of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy — Emanuel has remained largely out of the public eye, providing brief, but measured, remarks to the press only a few times. His attack on Allen on Wednesday marked the first time the mayor appeared to lose his composure as the city deals with the fallout from the McDonald case.

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