Rahm Emanuel to Democrats: 'Don't focus immediately on Trump'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Democrats shouldn't place their attention exclusively on President Donald Tr...

Posted: Dec 9, 2018 9:35 PM
Updated: Dec 9, 2018 9:35 PM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Democrats shouldn't place their attention exclusively on President Donald Trump as they take control of the House of Representatives and look toward the 2020 presidential election.

"Don't focus immediately on Trump. ... You have something with the secretary of labor, you have with EPA, you have in the Interior Department, you have it at the Commerce Department, you have it at HUD. He has brought the swamp to Washington and flooded the plains, and I think Mueller will deal with Trump," Emanuel said in an interview with David Axelrod on CNN's "The Axe Files," airing Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.

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"You have an entire government that is not on its game protecting the American people," he added. "The House should focus there."

Emanuel, who was chief of staff under President Barack Obama and an adviser to President Bill Clinton, told Axelrod that he thinks Trump is "making a big mistake" in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

"This President's decided to immerse himself in the investigation, the scandal, and not do a degree of separation ... and say, 'I'm not going to let that affect the business that the people elected me.' They're going to rue the day they didn't do that," Emanuel said.

Looking ahead to 2020, Emanuel predicted that the 2018 midterm election marked a potential turning point for Democrats, particularly when it comes to making gains in suburban areas.

"I think if the Republican Party stays as angry as Donald Trump, as ugly as Donald Trump, I think that's a unique opportunity for the Democrats to actually open up and build a stronger, more stable coalition that not only wins gubernatorial races and House races, but the ultimate prize, the White House," Emanuel said.

He said Americans are ready for a foil to the President and that the country is "ashamed" and "exhausted" by Trump.

"Eight years of this would be something I'm not sure how long it would take for America to recoup — or recover from," he said.

Emanuel said the best challenger to Trump would be young and a relative newcomer to politics -- not someone like former Vice President Joe Biden, who this week said he is the "most qualified person in the country to be president."

"I am trying to look for history to draw lessons. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama — all younger than age 50, all from outside of Washington. ... My general rule is that has worked for us," he said. "The last thing I think we need is a nominee who owns Washington."

Emanuel stirred controversy last month when he called Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who was defeated by Sen. Ted Cruz in his bid for Senate, a "loser."

"My point was about the party," Emanuel said. "What party takes a person who led the party to the greatest wins in the House since the Watergate and says, 'We are going to cut your knees off,' and then says, 'We want to nominate somebody who didn't win'? It wasn't about him. I admire what he did. It's about our party that I don't admire."

Emanuel also discussed gun violence in Chicago, which Trump has repeatedly criticized.

Emanuel said that the city needs to deal with the combination of "too many guns, too little values."

He also said Trump might be targeting him more than other big city mayors, and that the President uses Chicago as a "shorthand" for what he views as failed Democratic policies in cities roiled by gun violence.

"I have said and I have declared that Chicago will be a Trump-free zone. And I stand by that because I think the policies that he has advocated are quite divisive," Emanuel said.

"There has been in the last 100 years, seven attempts to make changes to the police department," Emanuel said. "I am convinced that the road we are on now is the one that will actually put this to bed and make the fundamental changes."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 31376

Reported Deaths: 1976
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9132533
Lake3260167
Cass15816
Allen124065
St. Joseph115534
Hendricks111765
Hamilton109691
Johnson1080104
Elkhart99127
Madison58058
Bartholomew47433
Porter47321
Clark45338
LaPorte39921
Tippecanoe3693
Jackson3591
Delaware34933
Howard34517
Hancock31727
Shelby31221
Floyd31238
Boone28135
Morgan25824
Vanderburgh2422
Decatur22231
White2218
Montgomery22116
Clinton2081
Harrison18421
Noble18120
Grant18120
Dubois1782
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe15810
Henry1566
Lawrence14222
Vigo1417
Miami1371
Putnam1317
Jennings1264
Orange12422
Scott1163
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll912
Daviess8116
Steuben792
Kosciusko781
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Washington521
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Rush452
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Pulaski390
Randolph383
Whitley342
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb281
Knox240
Benton240
Crawford230
Perry230
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Tipton221
Wells220
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Posey170
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Warren121
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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 110304

Reported Deaths: 4856
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook720103304
Lake7615250
DuPage7060340
Kane5645152
Will5117257
Winnebago192550
McHenry139967
St. Clair96671
Kankakee79142
Kendall70919
Rock Island63122
Champaign5567
Madison53353
Boone39316
Sangamon32926
DeKalb3193
Randolph2583
Jackson21910
McLean20410
Ogle1902
Macon18719
Stephenson1872
Peoria1777
Clinton17616
Out of IL1501
LaSalle13910
Union1395
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1304
Coles1159
Warren1140
Unassigned1040
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9111
Grundy892
McDonough804
Lee771
Cass670
Tazewell673
Henry660
Williamson551
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin411
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess260
Fayette202
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Mason170
Menard170
Woodford172
Shelby161
Bureau151
Mercer140
Carroll132
Hancock130
Franklin120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Piatt110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Schuyler100
Moultrie90
Wayne91
Alexander80
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Johnson70
Massac70
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Marshall50
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Richland30
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Clay20
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