Attack ad seeks to link Rauner with Trump’s comments on women, immigrants



Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 17, 2016, in Springfield. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Kim Geiger | Chicago Tribune

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday sought to reiterate his support for immigrants and Americans of Hispanic origin against the backdrop of a tumultuous presidential campaign that has seen a series of anti-immigrant statements by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“America is the greatest nation on Earth because we are a nation of immigrants,” Rauner said as he attended an event at the University of Illinois at Chicago celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. “Immigrants built our country, and I am very pro-immigration, very pro comprehensive immigration reform.”

Rauner’s remarks and his appearance at the Hispanic event came as Democrats have sought to use outrage over recently surfaced comments by Trump about his dealings with women to reopen a wider conversation about the GOP candidate’s history of denigrating minorities and immigrants.


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton seized on the comments in the Sunday night debate, warning voters that “it’s not only women” who have been the target of Trump’s demeaning language.

“He has also targeted immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, and so many others … the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are,” she said.

Rauner said Monday that he didn’t watch the debate. But the potential for Trump’s language to affect races up and down the ticket can’t be lost on the Republican governor or his advisers.

Indeed, on Tuesday, a federal super political action committee run by state Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat, announced that it is airing an ad that attempts to tie Illinois Republicans to the controversial reality TV star.

“Bruce Rauner and the Illinois Republicans support a man for president who insults women … demeans immigrants … and makes fun of the disabled,” a narrator says in the ad, between clips of Rauner telling reporters in March, “I will support the Republican Party’s nominee.”

So it was that Rauner on Tuesday listed by name five Hispanic members of his administration’s leadership team and noted that Illinois has “one of the largest, most vibrant Hispanic communities anywhere in America.”

The governor was less candid when asked how he expects the situation at the top of the ticket might affect down-ballot races — a matter of particular concern for a Republican governor spending millions of dollars as he seeks to erode Democratic supermajorities in the General Assembly.

The centerpiece of the GOP push funded by Rauner and deep-pocketed friends is to blame longtime Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan for the state’s woes.

“Really, I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment any more. I’m focused on making Illinois strong and healthy. And to be crystal clear, I am not endorsing in the race and I am appalled by the rhetoric,” the governor said of the presidential contest.

Rauner pledged during the primary season to support his party’s eventual nominee, but he skipped the Republican National Convention and has withheld his endorsement since Trump became the party’s standard-bearer.

“I’ll say, the rhetoric for quite a while has been not representative of American values and very, just wrong,” Rauner said. “And that’s the reason, quite a while back, I said, I’m not endorsing, and I’m sticking with that.”


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