Trump on Rauner: Never heard of him

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - Fol­low Sneed on Twit­ter:@ Sneedlings. MICHAEL SNEED.

“Hi, Mike,” he said. “It’s me. Don­ald. Don­ald Trump.” Well, that gives one pause. En route to Michi­gan Fri­day via his pri­vate jet, Trump rang Sneed in the lat­est in a se­ries of short, un­sched­uled, serendip­i­tous, and in­fre­quent phone chats which be­gan just be­fore Trump’s for­mal en­try into the pres­i­den­tial race last sum­mer.

“Well,” I said. “Thanks. Great. I’ve been call­ing to find out when you are com­ing to Chicago and if it will be be­fore the March 15th pri­mary.”

“Yes. Yes. I’m com­ing to Chicago on Fri­day, March 11,” said Trump, who ap­par­ently hadn’t slept in a bed since the Fox de­bate Thurs­day night— and sounded fa­tigued.

“No. No. En­ergy. Lots of en­ergy,” he said.

“I’m plan­ning to give a speech when I get to town and stay at my world fa­mous ho­tel, the Trump Tower,” added Trump.

(His cam­paign later posted the time and lo­ca­tion of the rally— 6 p.m. Fri­day at the UIC Pav­il­ion— on its web­site.)

“I love Chicago. I love Mike Ditka. I love my ho­tel . . . the Trump Tower, which is No 1. We are No. 1. No. 1. And how about my polls. Amaz­ing, huh?”

I steered the con­ver­sa­tion back to Illinois.

“So what do you think of our (Repub­li­can) gov­er­nor, Bruce Rauner?” I asked.

“Rauner? Who? Don’t know him,” said Trump. “Why? What’s up,” he added. “The state of Illinois is in a bud­get night­mare,” I said. “Broke.”

“Well, don’t know him,” said Trump.

Then he coun­tered: “So what did you think of the [Fox] de­bate last night?”

“Well, what do you think?” I said. “Aren’t you guys get­ting tired of all the mud­sling­ing?”

“I think the de­bates are get­ting ridicu­lous,” he re­sponded.

“It’s the same thing over and over,” he added. “But again, I am win­ning the de­bates ac­cord­ing to the polls. But I don’t know. We are do­ing the same thing over and over again.”

Sneed also asked Trump about spec­u­la­tion New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who stun­ningly pledged his troth to Trump, might be his choice for the vice pres­i­dent.

“I’m not con­sid­er­ing any­body right now. Right now I am just fo­cus­ing on be­com­ing the pres­i­dent, win­ning the elec­tion.

“Then we’ll see who that will be. ”

We chat­ted about the re­cent dust-up be­tween Trump and the Ricketts fam­ily, which owns the Chicago Cubs— ever since dis­clo­sures the uber-rich, po­lit­i­cally con­ser­va­tive en­clave was spend­ing big bucks via a political ac­tion com­mit­tee to fund anti-Trump ads.

Trump had orig­i­nally blasted the Rick­ettses last month via Twit­ter for “se­cretly spend­ing $’s against me. They bet­ter be care­ful. They have a lot to hide.” Now he tells Sneed:

“I think the Ricketts fam­ily should be spend­ing their time try­ing to de­velop a cham­pi­onship team— and less time try­ing to de­mean Don­ald Trump.”

“They should spend less time wor­ry­ing about me. They don’t know me.”

In the new anti-Trump ad, which is run­ning na­tion­ally as well as in Illinois, Trump Univer­sity is hit. “Don­ald Trump be­longs in 3 a.m. in­fomer­cials,” not the White House, a nar­ra­tor says in the ad.

Be­fore sign­ing off, Trump in­quired about for­mer Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka.

“He’s a great guy. A great guy,” Trump said, who re­counted our con­ver­sa­tion last year about Ditka’s praise of his can­di­dacy and news Ditka had just told a New York ra­dio sta­tion of his de­sire to vote for Trump amidst a bar­rage of crit­i­cism flung at Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

“Look, Mike,” Trump said. “I’m so happy to hear he did that. Please thank Mike Ditka again for me. Re­ally. Truly. He is such a great guy. A leader. My kinda guy.” So here’s some food for thought. Iron Mike Ditka once de­scribed a 1986 Su­per Bowl-win­ning Chicago Bear fan as a “Grabowski”; his de­scrip­tion of a hard-work­ing, blue col­lar kind of guy.

Hmmm. Is that Ditka’s logo for a Trump fan?

I must re­mem­ber to ask.

A Trump note. . .

Last May 18, Sneed tipped Trump, then con­sid­er­ing a pres­i­den­tial bid, was head­lin­ing a City Club of Chicago speech at Mag­giano’s Lit­tle Italy on June 29.

How­ever, when Trump an­nounced his of­fi­cial bid for the pres­i­dency on June 16, the City Club speech broke all records. The Trump wait­ing list grew to 5,000; the room held only 350, ac­cord­ing to the stats pro­vided by the City Club’s leg­endary mae­stro Jay Do­herty.

“We want him back,” Do­herty tells Sneed.

No kid­ding.

Sneedlings . . .

Con­grat­u­la­tions to RTA’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Leanne Red­den, on be­ing rec­og­nized by U.S. Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary An­thony Foxx this week in Wash­ing­ton with the “Woman Who Moves The Na­tion” award. Satur­day’s birth­days: Eva Men­des, 42; Paul Kon­erko, 40, Kyle Sch­war­ber, 23 . . . Sun­day’s

birth­days: Shaquille O’Neal, 44; Jake Ar­ri­eta, 30, and Tyler The Cre­ator, 25.

TRUMP ON RAUNER: ‘‘RAUNER? WHO? DON’T KNOWHIM.’’

TRUMP ON DITKA: ‘‘HE IS SUCH A GREAT GUY. A LEADER. MY KINDA GUY.’’

MATT ROURKE/AP

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