Rauner won’t touch Trump comments, stays out of Republican presidential race

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Rauner won’t touch Trump comments, stays out of Republican presidential race

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

By Chicago Tribune

Here is the Morning Spin, a weekday feature from the Tribune that catches readers up to what’s going on in Illinois government and politics.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has publicly stayed out of the Republican presidential primary and did so again Monday.

Asked if Donald Trump’s vague comments about the Ricketts family were inappropriate, Rauner remarked that the presidential race “has been a very wild process,” but he would not comment further.

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A poll done by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that Illinois’ Republican voters picked Trump more than any other GOP candidate. Hillary Clinton led the Democrat field. 

Rauner’s communications chief just left the adminisration to work on Gov. John Kasich’s campaign, but there are some special circumstances as he’s joining his twin brother.

Rauner’s 2014 campaign manager, Chip Englander, was working on Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s campaign, and when that ended he jumped aboard Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign.

Meanwhile, House Republican leader Jim Durkin, who spoke at a City Club of Chicago lunch, said he’d back the party’s eventual nominee, even if it’s Trump.

Durkin isn’t publicly backing anyone in the presidential race either.

Rauner on MAP grant veto

Gov. Rauner vetoed a Monetary Award Program grant funding bill Friday as promised, saying the state doesn’t have the money to pay for it. On Monday, the governor tried to blame House Speaker Michael Madigan for the situation.

Asked Monday to explain why college students have been left out of his education spending agenda, Rauner pointed at Madigan.

“They’re not out of luck, they’re out of Speaker Madigan control right now,” Rauner said of college students. “I could get them the money right now, if we could do the reforms and free me up,” to cut spending elsewhere in the budget.

That’s a reference to Rauner’s request that lawmakers grant him the authority to unilaterally slash spending in order to make the books balance.

Rauner proposed a budget last week that contained a hole of at least $3.5 billion, and said that if Democrats aren’t willing to grant him his pro-business, union-weakening agenda in exchange for a tax increase to fill the deficit, they should let him make spending cuts instead. Rauner did not spell out where he would make those cuts, and Democrats aren’t willing to give him that authority anyway.

But he told reporters Monday that they should “study” his budget proposal of last year, which would have cut spending on Medicaid and slashed the amount of income tax dollars that are shared with local governments, among other things. (Kim Geiger)

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