Dennis RODMAN’s transformation — GOP bucks TRUMP on BLAGO release — Who will lead state DEMOCRATS?

 In Politics

By Natasha Korecki ([email protected] ; @natashakorecki) and Kristen East ([email protected]; @kristenicoleast)

Good Tuesday morning, Illinois.

Story Continued Below

THE BUZZ: In light of the historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, let’s reflect on the question many people in Chicago are really thinking about: What is up with Dennis Rodman?

There he was on cable news last night, live from Singapore, wearing a MAGA hat, tissue in hand, crying.

Rodman’s been in and out of the news for varying levels of outrageousness over the years and he’s taken well-publicized trips to North Korea. Locally, it’s gone largely ignored.

That’s because nostalgic, championship-era Bulls fans prefer to remember Rodman first as the feisty and ferocious defensive forward, crashing the boards, coming up with the ball, then passing it into the hands of a god-like Michael Jordan. Yes, there were the tattoos and side squabbles. He’d have bleach blond hair one day and was dressed in drag the next.

But with Rodman it will always be the 1990s Chicago Bulls. A streak of championships that enraptured a city pining for a winning team. A five-time NBA champion and two-time Defensive Player of the Year who led the NBA in rebounds for a record seven seasons that’s our Rodman.

So this stuff last night: the tissues, the crying. We’re not so sure what to do with it.

Let’s kick it to social media.

Some reflections Monday, via Twitter:

@_SamGoldstein: “Remember when it was Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman and not Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump, and Kim Jong Un?”

@CDSWCCO: “21 years ago I was watching Michael Jordan score 38 points while battling the flu. Tonight I’m watching his former teammate Dennis Rodman on CNN talking about a summit between North Korea & the US led by Donald Trump. Never pictured this happening back in 1997.”

@dfellman: “People always bring up Pippen in the Michael Jordan vs LeBron James debate, but I can almost guarantee LeBron will have never played with a teammate who oversees a nuclear summit like Dennis Rodman.”

@garpo3000: “Here we are on the 21st anniversary of Michael Jordan’s flu game and, between Steve Kerr and Dennis Rodman, the 90s Bulls are still making front page news.”

In Rodman’s own words: “Obama didn’t give me the time of day,” Rodman told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I asked him. I said: I have something to say from North Korea. He just brushed me off. But that didn’t deter me … I said to everybody, ‘the door will open.’” That’s when Rodman broke down. Story here

Watch it here

UNIFIED OPPOSITION — The Illinois Republican delegation has seldom united in its opposition to a policy or statement put forth by President Donald Trump. But the president’s public mulling of releasing Blagojevich early from his prison term has changed that. All seven GOP congressman signed onto a lengthy letter spelling out their reasons for wanting to keep the former governor behind bars for the entirety of his 14-year term. Without Trump’s intervention, the 61-year-old Blagojevich isn’t scheduled for release until 2024.

Our story: “Illinois Republicans buck Trump over Blagojevich” — “The Illinois Republican congressional delegation is asking President Trump to call off any plans to commute ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence, saying it would ‘set a detrimental precedent and send a damaging message.’ A copy of the letter obtained by POLITICO shows the state’s seven GOP House members in unified opposition to freeing the former Democratic governor. “[W]e ask that you consider very carefully the precedent this may set and the impact it will have on acts of public corruption in the future. As you well know, the integrity of our democracy and the core of American values depend on our elected officials being honest in upholding the trust given to them by the American people. Granting clemency to Rod Blagojevich would go against this trust,” the letter concludes. The letter was signed by Reps. Peter Roskam, Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Mike Bost, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger and Rodney Davis.

‘As public servants, we are rightfully held to a higher standard. In Illinois, many of our elected officials have failed to do so in the past, and few – like former Governor Rod Blagojevich – have been held accountable for their actions,’ Roskam said in a statement.” Story here

Read the letter here

Welcome to the POLITICO Illinois Playbook! Please send tips, events, announcements to [email protected] or @natashakorecki SUBSCRIBE to Illinois Playbook For more Illinois news visit: http://www.politico.com/news/illinois

STATE

— “‘Rest in honor’: Quincy vet hosted by Rauner dies after Legionnaires’ illness,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney: “A Quincy veterans’ home resident who contracted Legionnaires’ disease after Gov. Bruce Rauner feted him during this year’s State of the State address has died following health complications. Services were held on Monday for U.S. Air Force veteran Ivan Jackson, 79. He served for more than two decades and died in a St. Louis hospital on May 23. Rauner’s administration said it had no evidence Jackson’s death was caused by Legionnaires’, and the coroner in St. Louis County, Missouri, where he died, wasn’t immediately available. But Jackson’s daughter said Legionnaires’ likely was a contributing factor along with other serious underlying illnesses.” Story here

— “Could Dems survive without Michael Madigan at the top?” by Chicago Reader’s Ben Joravsky: “As one sexual harassment horror tale after another emerges from Springfield, I’m coming face-to-face with the heretofore seemingly unthinkable: It’s only a matter of time before Michael Madigan is forced to step down from his positions of power. That would include giving up being chairman of the state Democratic Party and maybe even speaker of the house. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’ve never been a big Madigan fan … For all the embarrassment and disgust with Madigan’s statehouse, where flabby old guys harass women with lewd and lame comments, I have a sinking feeling that Republicans would take over without him. Over the last three years, Madigan’s been the key tactician who kept the party strong in the face of Governor Rauner’s relentlessly anti-union, privatization, and school bankruptcy agenda. Madigan absorbed the blows of Rauner’s well-financed propaganda machine that’s probably a lot closer to seizing power in the state than any of us want to consider. Without Madigan leading the resistance in the house, I fear most Democrats would have rolled over in the face of Rauner’s assault.” Story here

— ”Woman who uncovered Madigan’s #metoo mess wants to run state Democratic Party,” by Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles: “Political consultant Alaina Hampton is interested in taking a look at her “dream job:” the suddenly vacant post of executive director for the Democratic Party of Illinois, which Madigan controls … Tim Mapes last week announced his resignation as executive director of the party, chief-of-staff to Madigan and clerk of the Illinois House just hours after Sherri Garrett, a longtime speaker’s office employee, went public with what she called ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying’ allegations … While Mapes mostly operated in a behind-the-scenes role as executive director, his replacement could send a huge message to the party that it’s open to change.” Story here

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