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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

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 113195

Reported Deaths: 4923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook738193354
Lake7767250
DuPage7290340
Kane5866153
Will5238258
Winnebago199351
McHenry145268
St. Clair101773
Kankakee80242
Kendall72719
Rock Island63922
Champaign5697
Madison54056
Boone40716
Sangamon33226
DeKalb3313
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21210
Stephenson1952
Ogle1922
Macon18819
Peoria1858
Clinton17816
Out of IL1771
Union1417
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13310
Iroquois1314
Unassigned1200
Coles1159
Warren1140
Jefferson10116
Knox950
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee761
Tazewell683
Cass670
Henry670
Williamson541
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin421
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess270
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Mercer150
Carroll132
Franklin120
Piatt120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Schuyler100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
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