Confronted by one black lawmaker this afternoon, Governor Bruce Rauner refused to apologize for a controversial cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute.
The cartoon depicts a black child begging a white man for money. The Illinois Policy Institute says the drawing is meant to depict politicians keep TIF money from students across Illinois. Some, including several state lawmakers, say it’s racist.
Governor Rauner had a chance to put the controversy to bed Thursday afternoon, after signing various criminal justice reform bills on Chicago’s West Side.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) told Rauner, “Let’s make it right today. Can you apologize?”
Rauner replied, “Let me be clear, I’m not apologizing for anything that I have nothing to do with.”
“We in America stand united against racism,” Rauner said, without ever mentioning the cartoon.
The governor has faced enormous criticism for his response to the drawing. On Tuesday the governor’s office released a statement that said in part, “the governor – as a white male – does not have anything more to add to the discussion.”
Hours later, Rauner sent out a second statement distancing himself from the original message. Overnight, four members of his communications team were let go over the mix up, including two that were responsible for the “white male” comment.
We asked the governor repeatedly today whether he agrees with the cartoon’s message…but he won’t say. Instead, Rauner points the blame at the way funds from TIF districts are distributed in Chicago.