Donald Trump

Rauner Releases Statement After Reports of Latest Staff Shakeup

Editor's note: Earlier reports that Kristina Rasmussen was let go were not accurate. She remains on the job today.

A day after sources told NBC 5 that Gov. Bruce Rauner fired several key staffers who were hired only six weeks ago, the governor said in a statement that four of them submitted their resignations.

"Diana Rickert, Laurel Patrick, Meghan Keenan and Brittany Carl have submitted their resignations to the Office of the Governor," Rauner said in the statement. "We are grateful for their hard work on behalf of the people of Illinois and wish them all the best going forward."

Rauner has named Elizabeth Tomev as his acting communications director.

The shakeup comes after a lingering controversy over a political cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute, the right wing think tank Rauner has turned to in his staff overhaul.

Sources on Wednesday confirmed to NBC 5 that Rickert, Patrick and Carl, who once compared abortion to Nazi eugenics in a controversial blog post, were all out.

Rickert and Carl were fired, sources said, while Patrick resigned.

It's believed Rickert wrote the vexing "white male" press release from Tuesday and Patrick sent it out.

Rauner had been out of town for several days this week, taking his daughter to college, and the staff released a press release on the cartoon many lawmakers labelled racist.

Among the comments from the Rauner team was "as a white male" he would no longer comment on the controversy.

Rauner later released another statement saying the previous one "did not accurately reflect my views."

Some speculate that perhaps some of the former Illinois Policy Institute staffers left on their own, upset that Rauner plans to sign an Immigration bill on Monday that conservatives oppose.

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