Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday that he does not need the support of one frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s backers, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, to win the White House.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont supported and campaigned for Rahm Emanuel’s opponent in the mayoral race last spring and urged the nation for change in policing strategies to ensure “lethal force should be a last option, not a first option.”
His comments were interpreted as being a reference to the murder of Laquan McDonald, an African American 17 year old that was shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke, a white police officer in Chicago
According to Reuters, Sanders told reports “If the question is whether I want or need Rahm Emanuel’s support for President, the answer – in all due respect to the mayor – (is) no, I do not.”
Sanders referred to the mishandled video of the shooting, because Emanuel tried to hide the video from the public in order to be re-elected, but was forced to show the video after a judge ruled for its release last month.
People are continuing their call for Emanuel’s resignation and a protest will be held on Thursday in Chicago. Also the Justice Department is investigating abusive policing and accountability in the Chicago police force ever since the video has been released.
Rahm Emanuel is one of the most controversial politicians from the Democratic Party. He was part of the team that helped elect President Bill Clinton and served as his political director and later served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama. He was also a Representative in the House and helped the Democratic Party take over the House in 2006.
Sanders took the chance to criticize Emanuel, because the defamed mayor is expected to campaign for his political ally, frontrunner for the Democrat nomination Hillary Clinton. Sanders pointed out Clinton’s dilemma over how to use Emanuel now that he is a damaged personality in American politics.
According to Reuters, former Obama adviser David Axelrod said “The last thing he should be focusing on is presidential politicking. I think he feels now more than ever an obligation to try and fix this in a way that is durable and lasting.”
Political experts say that Clinton now has no choice but to distance herself from Emanuel if she would like to have the support of the African American voters that Emanuel himself has alienated from because of the McDonald case.
According to Reuters, political journalist David Yepsen said “Politics is a business and loyalty is great, but at some point, if you are too much of a liability, you get thrown under the bus. And Rahm Emanuel understands that probably better than anyone else.”
Clinton has expressed her confidence in Emanuel, but has publicly support the Justice Department’s investigation of the Chicago police department.