Illinois GOP Chair Must Step Up for President Trump or Step Down

By DOUG IBENDAHL • May 20, 2018


The Illinois Republican Party held its reorganizational meeting on Saturday in downstate Springfield. Every four years after the 18 members of the state central committee are picked around the state, that committee convenes to choose the state party chairman.


Apart from some minor deckchair rearranging on Saturday, the status-quo prevailed.


Governor Bruce Rauner’s hand-picked state party chairman Tim Schneider was unanimously rewarded with another 4-year term as chair by the state central committee.


Schneider must have looked around the room and saw no Chicago press amongst the small choir of Republicans, because near the end of the meeting he actually had a few kind words for President Trump.


The local Springfield paper was the only outlet I saw which reported his short remarks on that score.


This is noteworthy because I live in Cook County, same as Schneider, and not once have I ever heard Schneider stand-up for our President in Chicago media. Schneider has a unique platform as party chairman. If he had the desire, he could easily get in Chicago radio, television, and newspaper coverage pretty much any time he chose, just by virtue of the big title he holds.


And you won’t be surprised to hear that our President gets hammered constantly on Chicago radio and television, and in the two daily newspapers which are both viciously anti-Trump.


But safely ensconced in a room with only Republicans, 200 miles away from Chicago, Chairman Schneider managed to voice exactly one sentence in support of our President. We’re all supposed to rejoice.


Preaching to the choir at a small GOP meeting is easy. Taking the message to the unconverted is not so easy, but that’s the duty you sign-on for if you say you want a party title.


The fact is, while maybe a distinct minority, there are a lot of Trump supporters in Cook County. (Trump received 453,287 votes county-wide in the 2016 General Election which was 5,899 more votes than Bruce Rauner received for governor in Cook in the 2014 General Election. And Trump’s votes came without Schneider or his organization lifting a finger for the Trump effort.)


Just imagine how many Trump votes Cook County could produce if we actually had a Republican Party and Republican officials who were doing their jobs.


An incredible opportunity has been squandered for over two years and counting because we have a state party chairman who refuses to help set the record straight in Cook County about all of our President’s positive accomplishments and all of the great things he’s getting done for all Americans.


Our President’s message of strong law enforcement, border security to stop gang and drug infiltration, infrastructure building, job creation, and educational opportunity should be especially attractive in places like Chicago and Cook County — if only more people here were getting that message from the locals.


Donald Trump has shown Republicans how to fight. He’s shown Republicans how to stand-up to the Trump-hating fake news. He’s also shown Republicans how to actually get things done.


We could actually build a winning Republican Party in Illinois around President Trump and his successful agenda. Bruce Rauner, not so much.


Republicans in other states get it, but most Illinois GOP officials remain clueless. Slugs like Tim Schneider and Bruce Rauner just sit around constantly whining about Mike Madigan. Madigan is their foil, their excuse for not doing their jobs. Most GOP state senators and representatives also follow that lazy “model” in Illinois.


I’m so sick of the Madigan excuse. For crying out loud, President Trump has to deal with hundreds of Mike Madigans in Washington D.C. and it certainly hasn’t stopped him from accomplishing more in a shorter period of time than probably any president in history.


But then again, Trump’s a leader.


If you want to know how ridiculous it’s gotten, note that the websites of the Illinois Republican Party, the Cook County Republican Party, and the Chicago Republican Party don’t have a peep about our President, his agenda, or his accomplishments. To my knowledge, they never have.


So what’s the deal with Tim Schneider? Why does he refuse to seriously assist the President of the United States?


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is my firm opinion that Schneider has a serious conflict of interest. He is also one of just 17 Commissioners on the Cook County Board. That’s a big public office and one that pays a big salary. That public office is the title he really cares about. Seems pretty obvious.


I think Schneider is looking at polls saying Trump is less than popular in Cook and he’s scared away from spending any of his personal political capital on the President. So, in a real way, to the extent Trump is unpopular in Cook, it’s a circular, self-fulfilling prophesy. Top party officials in a unique position to educate voters about the President’s winning agenda refuse to do so.


In other words, all Trump supporters in Illinois have to suffer because we’ve got a state party chairman who is more concerned about keeping his public office in Cook than he is about supporting our President.


If you can’t support the undisputed top leader of our Republican Party, Donald Trump, the one doer we actually have in the GOP, then you shouldn’t take the job of state party chair in the first place


Tim Schneider and his handler Bruce Rauner are breathtakingly selfish men.


By the way, Tim Schneider isn’t the only one with the same apparent conflict. His fellow Cook County Board member Sean Morrison is also Cook County Republican Party chair, and I’ve already told you about the lengths that misfit has gone to in working against our President’s positive outreach efforts in Cook.


The conflict of interest those two have looks pretty clear to me. But I invite Schneider and Morrison to tell me how I’m mistaken in my opinion. Of course, that will mean they will have to take a break from driving black Trump supporters out of our Republican Party.


But again, I welcome Schneider and Morrison to tell me they don’t have a blatant conflict of interest between their public office and party office titles. If for example the real reason they don’t stand-up for our President in Cook County is due to simple cowardice and/or gross incompetence, I’ll happily stand corrected.


“Unity” is the buzzword the old bosses are pushing after their powwow Saturday. To the extent that means uniting on dishonesty, corruption, rigged party elections, and abandonment of our hard-working President of the United States, sorry, you can count me out.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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