TGIF, Illinois. PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook won’t publish July 20-24. We’ll be back in the saddle the following Monday, July 27. Enjoy the week!

President Donald Trump held an event Thursday on the South Lawn of the White House that at times sounded more political than policy — and a handful of Illinois’ most conservative state lawmakers attended the event.


“It wasn’t a rally,” said state Rep. Andrew Chesney of Freeport, in northwest Illinois (no red hats spotted), though he acknowledged Trump “did take a few political shots.”

And Rep. John Cabello of Machesney Park said there was plenty of cheering but the exuberance was for Trump showcasing his work on deregulating industries.

This wasn’t a stemwinder like Tuesday’s speech where the president jumped from talking about his poll numbers to criticizing Joe Biden’s plans for energy efficiency, but Trump did have a difficult time separating government from politics. The event was supposed to showcase deregulation. “We’re here today to celebrate and expand our historic campaign to rescue American workers from job-killing regulations,” Trump said, according to a transcript.

He referenced Biden five times by name and warned that the former VP would create a “socialist nightmare” should he become president.

“Our entire economy, and our very way of life are threatened by Biden’s plans to transform our nation, and subjugate our communities through the blunt force instrument of federal regulation at a level that you haven’t even seen yet,” Trump said, bringing it back to the issue of deregulation.

Chesney told Playbook he liked Trump’s message of cutting regulations, advancing occupational licensing reform and doing a better job of “aligning local, state and federal regulations.”

And though he wowed supporters, Trump still muddled some messaging. He said his administration has taken “more than 740 actions to suspend regulations that would have slowed our response to the China virus,” including, “lifting restrictions on manufacturers so that our great auto workers could produce more than 100,000 ventilators.”

It should be noted that auto companies were called on to produce ventilators as part of the Defense Production Act, a law that gives the president authority to take control of domestic industries during national emergencies. It wasn’t a matter of regulation, per se.

Along with Chesney and Cabello, Republican state Reps. Joe Sosnowski and Blaine Wilhour also attended the White House affair. All four are members of the conservative Illinois Taxpayer Freedom Caucus created recently to address “structural and ethical” reforms in Illinois government.

“It speaks volumes that so many House Republicans would attend this event,” Cabaello told Playbook. “It shows that there are many House Republicans from Springfield who support this president.”

Polls may show Trump behind, Cabello adds, but that’s what they showed in 2016, too.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany started it. At a press briefing on Thursday, she called Lori Lightfoot “the derelict mayor of Chicago” for not seeking help from the president on the city’s gun-violence issue.

Lightfoot offered a sharp response on Twitter: “Hey, Karen. Watch your mouth.” Karen is the pejorative word usually reserved for middle-aged white women who are angry, entitled and often racist.

The exchange escalates a war of words that seems to pop up whenever things get rough for President Donald Trump. That’s been the case lately, what with him trailing in political polls and stumbling to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, apparently, his aides are using the same diversion tactic. During White House press briefing, held on the same day the country saw 75,600 new Covid-19 cases — a single-day record — McEnany was asked why the virus wasn’t a bigger priority for the president. McEnany answered: “It is a top priority of this administration. But there are other things the president has to focus on,” she said. “Democratic cities not controlling their streets; namely, the mayor of Chicago — people dying … on the streets of her city every weekend. And the president sent her a letter saying, ‘You must secure your city.’”

That’s quite the pivot.

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No official public events.

In Waukegan to discuss local jobs supported by the Summer Youth Employment Program at noon, and then the Census at 1 p.m. Watch here

At the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to deliver meals to health care workers.

— BY THE NUMBERS: The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 25 new deaths to coronavirus Thursday and 1,257 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 157,950 cases, including 7,251 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 9 to July 15 is 3.1 percent.

Pritzker lawsuit seeks mask order for Illinois schools: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker took the unusual step Thursday of preemptively filing a lawsuit to ensure school children wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when schools reopen in a few weeks. The action filed late Thursday in Sangamon County Circuit Court by the state attorney general seeks a judge’s approval of Pritzker’s order that schoolchildren, teachers and staff wear coverings over mouths and noses among other measures to reduce the chance that the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus can spread,” by the AP’s John O’Connor.

Pritzker warns parents to expect a school year unlike any other: “Pritzker also said his confidence level in leading the state through the pandemic was high after case numbers started dipping in May, but acknowledged he now feels “challenged” due to nationwide spikes and an uptick in Illinois,” writes Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

Who took down the CDC’s coronavirus data? The agency itself, “Alarm over the missing data, which was restored Thursday, became the latest source of tension between the CDC and administration officials,” via POLITICO.

Hospitals’ recovery plans clash with new Covid infections: “Hospital chains saw the summer as a potential respite when they could resume elective procedures. But that effort is colliding with a surge in new coronavirus cases nationwide,” by POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein.

What is herd immunity and how do we get there on Covid-19, writes Tribune’s Hal Dardick.

LATE-NIGHT OPPO: Willie Wilson’s campaign has dredged up information about Sen. Dick Durbin and his wife’s lobbying firm, which Wilson says benefited from the senior senator’s position in government. Wilson refers to a 2014 Tribune investigation, which “found instances in which Loretta Durbin’s clients have received federal funding promoted by her husband, raising questions about whether the power couple have done enough to avoid inherent conflicts of interest as they go about their jobs.” The Durbins acknowledged “overlap” but insisted Loretta Durbin “limited her lobbying to the state and never sought federal funds.”

— Money, money, money: The fundraising gap between Illinois Democrats and Republicans is getting to be painfully large. Michael Madigan, the House speaker and head of the state’s Democratic Party, reported this week having $7.4 million cash on hand. The House Republican Organization, the closest thing to a counterpart, has a paltry $419,200 cash on hand after raising $160,760 in the second quarter, according to documents filed with the State Board of Elections.

A wrap-up of the Q2 fund-raising numbers for congressional races, by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

Foxx’s GOP challenger calls her a ‘disaster,’ cites report by police group:The report by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund criticizes top prosecutors in the country, including Foxx,” by Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson.

— 40th Ward Democrats elected 14-year-old Ana Lopez-Alcantar to become the 40th Ward deputy committeeperson. Lopez-Alcantar, who starts Alcott College Prep in the fall, won by a unanimous vote at Thursday’s annual meeting.

Aldermen give Cubs OK for weekend night home games at Wrigley Field: “The Chicago Cubs got the green light Thursday to play home games on weekend nights, the “extraordinary circumstances” imposed by the coronavirus pandemic breaking a decades-long ban on games under lights on Fridays and Saturdays,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.

Former No. 2 official at Midway Airport accused of violating ‘crucial federal safety protocols’: “An inspector general’s report says a now-former deputy commissioner ordered the reported airfield conditions be changed — from wet to dry — after getting a call from an airline sources identified to the Sun-Times as Southwest,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Report details what cops did after Eddie Johnson drank ‘several large servings of rum’: “After finding then-police Superintendent Eddie Johnson asleep in a city SUV following his consumption of “several large servings of rum,” Chicago police trailed their boss home as he ran a stop sign and briefly drove in the wrong lane, the city watchdog reported Thursday,” by Tribune’s Dan Hinkel and John Byrne.

Lightfoot urges business leaders to join her in ‘second Chicago renaissance’: “Until the business community ‘finds a new way to invest in our people and our neighborhoods, the grinding poverty and the violence born out of desperation and despair simply will not end,’ the mayor said,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Chicago startup taps big-name money: “With funding from billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and investment firm CEO Michael Sacks, real estate software firm Cohesion spans the city’s political spectrum of prominent investors,” by Crain’s Lynne Marek.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates sit down with Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman for her audio show.

Clout alive and kicking in Cook County Board of Review hiring, watchdog finds: “The inspector general found the board has no formal hiring process, hired people ‘despite incomplete application materials and lack of formal process,’ and asks job applicants “who recommended you to us?’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

Video-sharing site WorldStarHipHop removes illegal recording of Cook County bail hearing where man claimed to be federal informant, by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and William Lee.

After finding no evidence stovepipe hat belonged to Abe Lincoln, Illinois historian is out of a job: “The stunning turn of events comes after [Samuel] Wheeler was asked … to study the history of the Lincoln hat in August of 2018. His report, which Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration released in December, shows an exhaustive — but still fruitless — effort to tie the hat to Lincoln,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.

Danville and other communities still await Gaming Board action on casino applications: “The next meeting of the Illinois Gaming Board is scheduled to take place in two weeks, but for now, it’s uncertain whether the board will use the meeting to make decisions on any of the casino license applications that are still pending,” by’s Steve Bittenbender.

The holdup delaying people of color from profiting from legal pot: “A new set of 75 dispensary licenses, judged in part on social equity factors, was to have been awarded by May 1, but has been indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday reaffirmed his commitment to social equity, and said he expects that “action” will be taken within six weeks, but did not elaborate on whether that means licenses will finally be awarded,” by WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky.

… State Rep. Chris Welch has written a letter to the governor, urging his administration “to ensure that social equity licenses for marijuana dispensaries are awarded to businesses and entrepreneurs that are truly owned and operated by members of disadvantaged and historically disenfranchised communities.”

Company that runs huge hemp greenhouse near Starved Rock wants to break into Illinois marijuana market — if it can get license: “The company that runs the facility, Red White and Bloom Brands Inc., reached a deal in June to brand its stores and products under the name High Times, after the industry’s iconic magazine. Reversing a trend whereby marijuana producers moved into the hemp business, Red White and Bloom plans to expand from hemp to break into the legal adult-use cannabis market in Illinois — if it can get a license,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Trump’s long, losing war with the NFL, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse

Trump skirting Congress to install loyalists in the Pentagon, by POLITICO’s Lara Seligman

Trump stares down a ticking economic time bomb, by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook

— IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sen. Tammy Duckworth talked to the New York Times’ podcast about Tucker Carlson, the vice presidency and parenting during the pandemic. Earlier in the week, she talked to Seth Meyers on “Late Night,” and also addressed the statue issue.

Quigley, Garcia, Schakowsky take issue with funding ICE ‘Citizens Academy’: “Three Illinois U.S. representatives joined this week in attacking a federal immigration initiative they charged with being a ‘vigilante’ program that would turn Chicago and other cities into a ‘police state,’” by One Illinois’ Ted Cox.

Michelle Obama is launching a podcast on Spotify: “The former first lady will host ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast,’ focused on meaningful relationships and conversations, her production company with former President Barack Obama, Higher Ground, announced Thursday in conjunction with Spotify. It’s set to debut on the music streaming service on July 29,” via CNN.

— Daniel Epstein, former Illinois Supreme Court candidate, is joining the law firm of GoodSmith Gregg & Unruh, a Chicago boutique that spun off of Latham & Watkins in 1996. The former Jenner & Block litigator will spend the next year at GGU and then head to Washington to clerk on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

— John Horstman is now special assistant to President Donald Trump and White House director of Media Affairs, overseeing regional media for the entire country. The Arlington Heights native previously was WH deputy director of media affairs.

— Cory Thames has been named deputy commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Chicago Department of Aviation. He starts Monday. He most recently served as deputy director of community engagement at the Obama Foundation.

Saturday and Sunday: Reps. Danny Davis and Chuy Garcia, Rev. Jesse Jackson, filmmaker Michael Moore, and actors Danny Glover and Ed Asner will speak at the “Concert for Cuba” telecast to celebrate Afro-Cuban music traditions. Performers: Susana Baca, Los Van Van, Bush, Tom Morello, Dionne Warwic, Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and others. Chicago’s HotHouse is producing. Register here.

July 27: Pete Buttigieg headlines a virtual fundraiser for Margaret Croke, a Democrat running unopposed for the 12th District state House seat. Details here

Today: JPMorgan Chase Senior Associate Melanie Beatus, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Illinois Department of Public Affairs director Mo Green, campaign consultant Alaina Hampton, and state Rep. Art Turner.

Saturday: Chicago Community Trust fellow and political campaigner Berto Aguayo, SEIU Healthcare VP Myra Glassman, Kivvit Senior Associate Christie Lacey, and IIT Comms Manager Howard J. Lee.

Sunday: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Fredrick Bates, Illinois Channel executive director Terry Martin, Advocate Aurora Health government relations director Crystal Olsen, and former U.S. Attorney Ron Safer.

Next week: state Sen. Bill Cunningham… David Fox, John Mulroe, Erika Orr, Mary Ann Ahern, Amanda Berrios, Mark Swartz… Joe Moore, Tim Johnson, Craig Wall, Sam Royko, Edward Acevedo… Kurt Summers, Anna Davlantas, Michael Ferro… Joyce Wippman, Anthony J. DeLuca… John Vlahakis, Thom Serafin, Mario Lopez and Michael Zalewski.




July 17, 2020 at 07:10AM

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