WASHINGTON — Mayor Rahm Emanuel huddled here on Tuesday with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. They are not strangers, having served together in the House.
Emanuel was in Washington to attend the Cubs celebration at the White House on Monday and, on Tuesday, to attend the annual winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
On Tuesday morning, Emanuel was on a panel talking about summer jobs and long-term employment for disadvantaged youths. Pence, the Indiana governor, addressed the mayors in the afternoon. He said President-elect Donald Trump wants to do a “big” infrastructure bill.
“The meeting today was two old colleagues getting together and catching up,” said mayoral spokesman Matt McGrath of the Pence/Emanuel meeting.
“The Mayor and Vice President-elect have known each other since they served together in Congress, and in fact their offices were right across the hall from each other in Longworth. They met for about 15-20 minutes after the Vice President-elect addressed a group of Mayors and talked about transportation, infrastructure, public safety and immigration,” McGrath said.
Emanuel also made what may be his last calls on Obama administration Cabinet members. He met with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro. Both DOT and HUD have programs that Emanuel can use for Chicago that will live on — for now — after President Barack Obama leaves office on Friday. Perhaps Emanuel still had more to squeeze out before Trump and his new Cabinet takes over.
Emanuel met with Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Dec. 7. During the transition, Trump has met with all three Emanuel brothers: Ari, the Hollywood agent, and Ezekiel, the physician who helped draft the Affordable Care Act, which Trump wants to dismantle.
According to City Hall, Emanuel did not raise the matter of the Justice Department findings last Friday on Chicago Police Department misconduct and racial bias. At issue in the new Trump administration is whether a consent decree with Chicago will be pursued — or if Emanuel wants to get ahead of the crisis and go to court on his own. Emanuel told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that City Hall lawyers were still studying the Justice Department report.