Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rauner tells POLITICO: 'I wasn't in Cuba. I was in, um...Europe.'

“You’d be amazed at what we ate. I’m not going to tell you that.” -- Gov. Rauner
Natasha Korecki is one of my favorite reporters on the Chicago scene. I peruse her Illinois Playbook in POLITICO most mornings over breakfast. You should too.

It looks like she perused mine on Saturday when I raised the possibility that Gov. Rauner's secret vacation had taken him to Cuba to hang out with his pal, Rahm Emanuel.
Got that last piece from reliable sources who say they spotted the gov in Havana. Are reporters even curious? I mean, Rahm/Rauner wining and dining together in Cuba while the city sizzles and the state floods (literally).
To her credit, she took my charge seriously and undaunted by Rahm's previous hissy-fit over her colleague Mike Allen's broaching of the Cuba topic, Korecki put it right to the gov. Here's what she came away with.
 To the conspiracy theorists who believed Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner were secretly puffing cigars and toasting Mojitos in Cuba on a joint, clandestine vacation -- not true. They were drinking Cuba Libres? No, no, no. While the two have been known to enjoy a pricey bottle of wine and fish together in their free time, the governor was in fact in Europe with his family on vacation over winter break. He paid for the trip himself and flew commercially, the governor’s office told POLITICO. 
Conspiracy theorist? Moi? Maybe so. There's definitely more than enough conspiring going on between Rahm and Rauner to theorize about. But all I did was raise the possibility after friends in Havana reported the Rauner spotting. Were they wrong? I'm dubious.

Knowing Korecki, I'm almost certain she won't be totally satisfied with Rauner's response. I mean, "Uh, no, no, no. I wasn't in Cuba. I was in...Europe. Yeah Europe. That's the ticket. Paid for it myself..."

Europe? Nobody says they're vacationing "in Europe". Where in Europe? Rome? Romania? Donetsk?

Clout Street digs deeper.
The wealthy former private equity specialist said he spent part of his two-week holiday break riding a camel in the Sahara desert.
Last I heard, the Sahara was still in Africa and the Middle East -- not Europe.

Vacationing in Europe or riding camels in the Sahara, while holding the IL school budget hostage and while a big chunk of the state was under water? Really? And if really in "Europe" or Africa and not in Cuba, why all the secrecy? Is this a national security matter?  Inquiring minds want to know. There may even be a conspiracy afoot.

Rauner tells Clout St., he wanted to keep the destinations quiet for security reasons, saying he was traveling with his children, including two who live in Africa and a “Spanish-speaking country.”

In addition to the camel ride, Rauner said he slept in tents and met with local ambassadors and counsel generals who offered chaperons when needed. Rauner said he did not travel with taxpayer-funded security.
So many questions here.

Anyway, thanks for raising it, Natasha. Glad you're paying attention.


  1. This is hilarious. For a moment I misread the part about Rauner's children and thought he was saying he'd visited a Spanish-speaking country in Europe; that would be the silliest coyness yet since I think there's only one...

    Also love Fred's cartoon on 'Disappointment'.

  2. Sounds like he was in Morocco. No where else in the Sahara region is safe for pasty tourists.

  3. Yes, the gov now says he was in Morocco and Spain.


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