Report: Teachers Union President Calls Republican Governor an ‘ISIS Recruit’

Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois / AP
April 21, 2016

The head of the Chicago Teachers Union called Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, "the new ISIS recruit" during a speech on Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, took aim at Rauner during a speech and likened him to a terrorist recruit.

"Rauner is the new ISIS recruit," she said during a lunch event at the City Club of Chicago.

"Yes, I said it, and I’ll say it again," Lewis stated. "Bruce Rauner is a liar. And, you know, I’ve been reading in the news lately all about these ISIS recruits popping up all over the place--has Homeland Security checked this man out yet? Because the things he’s doing look like acts of terror on poor and working-class people."

ISIS is the terror group that claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks in Paris last November and the more recent attacks in Brussels last month.

A spokeswoman for Rauner’s office responded to the remarks, saying, "This kind of rhetoric has no place in American public discourse and sets a terrible example for our kids."

Lewis has come under fire for controversial statements in the past, once labeling Rauner a "sociopath governor" in a speech last October and calling Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s embattled mayor, the "murder mayor" in 2013.

During the speech Wednesday, Lewis also accused Rauner of playing "chicken with the state budget."

Lewis made the remarks the same day that union members, teachers, and other activists protested in Chicago for more educational funding, asking for support of a proposal backed by some Democrats that the state impose a tax on top earners and send the revenue toward education.

Rauner and legislative Democrats have been locked in budget negotiations for months. The governor recently released his breakdown of school funding for next year. Rauner’s plan would increase funding by $120 million, NBC Chicago reported, citing the Illinois State Board of Education. However, funding to Chicago Public Schools would be cut by $74 million. Democrats have introduced their own proposal.

The governor has also pressed forward with a plan for the Illinois State Board of Education to gain control over Chicago Public Schools.