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Gov. Rauner Is Skipping Trump's Presidential Inauguration

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 5, 2017 4:19PM

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner at the Illinois State Fair. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

Update 1/6/17, 2:10 p.m.
In perfect Trumpian form, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer responded to questions about Rauner skipping the inauguration by not answering them directly, and by assuring us that everyone who's anyone is totally going to be present for the festivities.

"I think there has been an unbelievable demand for people to attend the inauguration," Spicer said, according to the Tribune. "We have had endless requests." He added that there would be "no shortage of Republicans, Independents and Democrats that will line the Mall to welcome in the next president and see real change to come to America."

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will not attend the inauguration of President elect Donald Trump in two weeks.

“I’m focused on Illinois. I really try to minimize the distractions,” Rauner told NBC5’s Mary Ann Ahern. “I minimize my time out of state.”

Much like national conventions for political parties, the inauguration is an opportunity to raise both a political profile and campaign cash. Arguably, with the recent $50 million he put in his campaign warchest, Rauner doesn’t really need to raise either. He skipped out on this year’s RNC as well.

Throughout the election, Rauner treated Trump like a reluctant Death Eater might have treated Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter, giving him wary support without specifically saying his name. Despite criticizing the man’s abhorrent comments on women and the lack of a formal endorsement, during the election Rauner framed support for Trump as support for the Republican party.

“What we can’t do is have Hillary get in the White House,” Rauner said at the Illinois GOP convention in May. “No way Hillary’s getting in the White House.” In early September, he indicated he’d cast a vote for Trump with a nod to an attendee at a banquet, but when later pressed on the matter declined to comment further saying he was “focused 100 percent on Illinois” instead.

Rauner’s office released a statement to the Tribune on his decision to not go to Washington on Jan. 20 that sounded very similar: “The governor is 100 percent focused on Illinois including passing a truly balanced budget and changing our broken political system.”

Despite this perceived lack of enthusiasm for the reign of a reality television star turned politician that's galvanized fascists nationwide, Rauner said he and Trump had a "good" talk last month.

"I’ve had some good conversations with the new administration in Washington because I want to try to figure out if we can work together, because I want Illinois to benefit from the changes coming,” he said.