© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rauner Will Support Trump, Or Whoever Becomes GOP Nominee

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon / Flickr, Rauner by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Republican nominee for president will have Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's support, no matter who he is.

Back when Rauner was running for governor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was often in Illinois, helping him campaign.

Rauner didn't return the favor when Christie tried to win the White House.

Despite having millions of dollars in his campaign fund, he has stayed out of the presidential primary. Rauner made no endorsements, and has generally skirted questions the race.

But this time, when a reporter Monday asked the governor "If Trump is the nominee, will you support him?" Rauner had an answer.

"I will support the Republican party's nominee for president. I'll do everything I can to work with that, uh, nominee," he said, after slight initial hesitation.

A reporter followed up, asking, "even if it's Trump?".

"I will support the Republican Party's nominee," Rauner responded.

The governor refused to comment when pressed on whether he has doubts about Trump's credentials, saying that he won't go into detail about any of the presidential hopefuls.

"I think we should respect the voters' decisions. The process is still in midstream. We should let the process play out," he said.

Some of Trump's campaign promises match Rauner's. Both men say government needs their business acumen, and that their private wealth keeps them free from insiders' influence.

Union leader Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, was immediately out with a statement in response to Rauner's pledge of support for Trump.

“Bruce Rauner must renounce the Donald Trump movement of hatred against people of color, against people of different faiths and against our immigrant sisters and brothers," Kelleher said. "Trump’s campaign has been marked by racism, incitements to violence, misogyny, mockery of people with disabilities and a mean-spiritedness that has no place whatsoever in the public realm."

Unions say Rauner, who has advocated for local right-to-work zones and lifting prevailign wage requirements, has spent his term trying to thwart them.

"Both Rauner and Trump apply the worst characteristics of a CEO, where protecting the richest means harming everyone else," Kelleher's statement said. "What Rauner is doing to Illinois is what Trump would do to America, and we already are experiencing the failures of this unreasonable approach. A Trump-Rauner partnership would be a total disaster.

Trump was able to win Illinois' primary March 15, despite little backing from the state's Republican leadership, and without a significant get out the vote infrastructure.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
Related Stories