Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner admitted he does not use his position to advocate for Illinois with President Donald Trump. “I’ve only spoken to the President once to congratulate him on his victory. I don’t have a particularly close personal relationship with him,” Rauner said in an interview with the Sun-Times Editorial Board.
While the Governor should not be expected to maintain a personal relationship, critics are quick to note that the Governor is required to maintain a professional relationship in order to advocate for the needs of Illinois citizens in Washington.
Trump in recent months has proposed policies that would dramatically impact both the government of Illinois and its residents. The Republican tax reform plan, passed into law last year, will have significant negative effects on homeowners in suburban areas, which Rauner has conceded. Rauner however, apparently, never communicated his concerns about the bill to Trump.
The same bill would institute unprecedented new taxes on higher education, making college more expensive, and force cuts to social programs and public services, including public education, police and public safety, health care centers and other services.
Also significantly impacting the state would be the president’s yet-unsuccessful proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A Congressional Budget Office report noted that states would face difficult choices under the Senate bill, including restricting eligibility, eliminating services, reducing healthcare provider payments, or subsidizing with their own money – a major problem for a state like Illinois that owes more than $15 billion in unpaid bills.
Rauner has previously faced criticism for his silence on the proposal that would raise premiums and cut coverage for Illinois consumers, though a large bipartisan group of governors has vocally opposed it.
When asked about his concerns about Trump, Rauner simply conceded to the Editorial Board that he was troubled by his “rhetoric,” rather than the President’s policy.