CHICAGO – Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is calling Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner “the new ISIS recruit.”
She said he’s “a liar” who “lacks the ability to govern” alleges the Republican governor “purchased his seat, conned the people of Illinois and is clueless on how to turn around Illinois to better serve its citizens,” DNAinfo reports.
The comments came during an address to the City Club of Chicago last week, when the union boss also threatened another teachers strike if the CTU doesn’t get its way during ongoing contract negotiations with the city.
During Lewis’ tirade against the governor, she alleged Rauner is guilty of “clouting his daughter into Walter Payton High School” – a high performing, selective enrollment school – and said the governor should repay Chicago Public Schools $47,000 for her education, according to the news site.
“Rauner is the new ISIS recruit,” Lewis bellowed to a large crowd at the recent luncheon, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Yes, I said it, and I’ll say it again,” she added. “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.”
She later elaborated on her comments.
“I think he’s holding people hostage,” Lewis said of the governor. “Who does that? You hold people hostage. You hold defenseless children, babies, infants, you hold defenseless mothers who are brand-new, you hold people who are disabled hostage. Because you can’t get something else you want to have, that has nothing to do with a budget? You know, I mean, it’s ideological. That’s terrorism, that is pure … terrorism.”
The comments stem from an ongoing budget standoff between the Republican governor and the Democrat controlled General Assembly, which has complicated contract negotiations between the CTU and CPS. District officials have pinned their hopes of fixing CPS chronic budget problems on a massive bailout from the state that has yet to materialize.
Lewis’ speech comes less than a week after the union rejected a contract proposal recommended by an independent arbitrator. CPS CEO Forrest Claypool wrote a letter to Lewis last week asking the union to agree to final and binding arbitration, but CTU officials are instead angling for another strike.
The union convinced its members to walk out on students April 1 for a one day strike, and Lewis said another strike is looming.
“Is the City of Chicago headed toward another teacher strike? Yes,” she said at the City Club, though she added “no decision has been made” about when it might take place. She said last Wednesday that “we have 26 days to work something out.”
An audience member at the City Club asked Lewis if the union was posturing.
“We are not petulant little children,” she said, according to DNAinfo.
“The state doesn’t appropriately fund public education,” Lewis alleged. “You get what you pay for. You don’t want to pay for stuff, you’re gonna get raggedy stuff.”
Claypool wrote in his letter to Lewis last week that CPS is “at a loss as to how a strike would solve or even advance a solution to the considerable challenges that CPS faces.
“In our view a strike whether in May or in August or in September would be devastating to our students and parents,” he wrote.
Rauner, who Lewis previously described as a “sociopath,” issued a statement on Lewis’ ISIS comments through a spokeswoman last week.
“This kind of rhetoric has no place in American public discourse and sets a terrible example for our kids,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said.