(CBS) — Some black and other elected Democrats in Illinois are calling on Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner to apologize after he was seen shaking hands with a man with a confederate flag on his jacket over the weekend.
WBBM’s Regine Schlesinger reports Bruce Rauner came before an audience of about 200 North Shore women to lay out his four point agenda for transforming and reinvigorating the state’s economy and fixing its fiscal mess.
In a Q & A with reporters afterwards, he was asked about the call for an apology from such leaders as Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Congressman Bobby Rush after pictures emerged of Rauner shaking the hand of a fellow motorcycle club member wearing a jacket with a confederate flag.
Rauner said he wasn’t aware of it.
“When you are out meeting with votes, I can’t always control who I shake hands and who is in which crowd. I don’t condone the Confederate flag…I support the American flag,” said Rauner.
Many of the women who were there to hear him speak said they came away impressed and plan to support him in November.
Congressman Danny Davis told CBS 2’s Jay Levine he doesn’t buy Rauner not knowing the politics of a fellow club member.
“There’s more of a relationship than just I meet you walking down the street and shake hands,” said Davis.
The Rauner camp responded if you’re gonna report that, what about the Governor’s campaign staff re-tweeting last month’s Sun Times column about African Americans supporting Bruce Rauner for alleged personal gain?
The column read, “It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go.”
A Quinn campaign spokesman told Levine that they retweeted the column before reading it thoroughly and deleted it 24 hours later when the offensive line came to their attention. She said unlike Rauner, they apologized when asked about it.
So what do ill-advised tweets and handshakes have in common? Some may call it the politics of trivial offense. But to many, Confederate flags and Nazi collaborators are anything but trivial.