Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday was offered an opportunity to call the violent behavior in Virginia over the weekend “terrorism” — and stumbled.

Not stumbling was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who accused President Donald Trump of all-but-winking at white supremacists.

While Rauner wouldn’t use the term “terrorism” in talking to reporters after a Monday morning bill-signing in Chicago, his office later issued a statement with stronger language.

“The deadly violence in Charlottesville this weekend is abhorrent and absolutely an act of domestic terrorism. Racism, hatred and violence have no place in our society,” the emailed statement said. “The individuals responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Earlier, Rauner had called the conduct “appalling” and “completely beyond anything that America should be about.”

He refused to call the violence in Charlottesville “terrorism,” but said in response to an Illinois Senate measure classifying neo-Nazis as terror groups: “If they want to classify that as terrorism, I support it.”

He did not mention Trump’s initial response to the crisis, which many politicians — including some from his own party — criticized as weak, but said that “all of us as Americans have to be strong against this.”

“Is it an act of terrorism?” an NBC5 reporter asked Rauner on Monday morning.

“It is outrageous and we’ve got to fight it,” he said.

“It is not an act of terrorism?”

“I did not say that.”

“Well, is it an act of terrorism, yes or no?”

“You define terrorism,” the governor replied.

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Three hours later, at a second question-and-answer session, he said his feelings on the violence had always been “crystal clear,” and he was not waiting for a statement from the White House, but conferring with Illinois law enforcement.

“The definition of terrorism matters,” Rauner told reporters. “I asked law enforcement the definition, and I got it, and I declared it as it is, right away when I got this definition. Nothing’s changed in my heart, and it never will.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, meanwhile, accused Trump of giving Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan reason to believe that they have a “friend in the White House.”

In an impromptu and emotional address before the City Club of Chicago, Emanuel joined a parade of politicians in both parties to criticize Trump for his timid reaction to the white nationalist rally that turned deadly when one man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters who were there to oppose the white supremacists. One woman, identified as 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed.

“It does not require a multiple-choice answer when it comes to what’s right vs. what’s wrong. And what’s more frightening is that those who are members of the Neo-Nazis and the KKK think they have a friend in the Oval Office.”

The mayor praised those who rallied in Chicago and across the nation to “oppose what they saw in Charlottesville — those who are spewing hatred and bigotry.”

“Heather Heyer’s parents should be proud that they raised somebody who knows what it means to be an American,” Emanuel said.

An emotional Emanuel also recalled 1978, when as a teen, he joined a Marquette Park protest to counter a city-sanctioned rally by a group of Nazis.

The weekend rally in Virginia was called to protest the city’s decision to tear down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It turned deadly when a man identified as a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

“The notion that, when the bully pulpit of the American Presidency is to be exercised and you miss the distinctions between our ideals and our values and those who spew hatred, you have failed us in the job of a President to bring this country together,” Emanuel said.

“It does not require a multiple-choice answer when it comes to what’s right vs. what’s wrong. And what’s more frightening is that those who are members of the Neo-Nazis and the KKK think they have a friend in the Oval Office.”

The Democratic Governors’ Association, which has Rauner in its sights for his 2018 re-election battle, also weighed in, saying Rauner had to be “shamed” into using harsher language.

“This is an unacceptable failure to lead by Governor Bruce Rauner,” the group’s statement said, saying that instead of taking a stand, Rauner “stuck to political talking points.”