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Rauner makes rare mention of Trump, predicts good relationship

Gov. Bruce Rauner. | Sun-Times files

Three days after his party’s presidential nominee won one of the most stunning political upsets in the nation’s history, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday finally mentioned President-elect Donald Trump’s name, predicting he would be able to work with his administration.

But Rauner still had little interest in talking about the election that many others in the nation can’t stop talking about.

“I’m glad it’s over,” the governor said, when asked about the election at an event in Downstate Champaign. “I think we should keep it, you know — it’s in the past. I don’t think dwelling on the past is productive. I think we need to come together as Illinoisans and as Americans.

“Make sure — you know what, whether Democrat or Republican or independent, it doesn’t matter, what we do is need to care about one another. We need to have our society be inclusive, and tolerant and welcoming of diversity.”

As head of the Illinois Republican Party, Rauner has for months said he would support his party’s presidential nominee, but he has steadfastly refused to discuss the race or Trump. The post-election statement Rauner released on Wednesday made no mention of the New York billionaire businessman or his historic win.

But on Friday, Rauner said he hoped to develop a “good working relationship” with members of the new administration.

“It is very important for the good of the people of Illinois, which is my 100 percent focus — the people of Illinois need to have … good positive working relationships with leaders in the federal government,” Rauner said. “That is, that is definitely true. Not debatable. Whether Democrats or Republicans, it doesn’t matter.

“As soon as I became governor one of the earliest things I did was to travel to Washington, D.C., and visit with President Obama in the White House and get to know his senior leaders, and get to know his directors of his federal government agencies, and I’ve had a good productive working relationship with them, and I hope and believe I can develop a good working relationship with members of a new Trump administration.

“I think it’s important for the good of Illinois that we do that. And I think we can get that done.”