Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner did not attend two governors' events with Donald Trump this past weekend and Monday, while also rebuffing suggestions that he is distancing himself from the president.
Although he said Monday that he was in Washington D.C. "this past weekend for three days" and "met with many governors."
Rauner did not join other governors Sunday night at a White House dinner. He also was a no-show at Monday morning's governors' event featuring Trump, who once again threatened federal intervention to stop Chicago violence.
"You look at what's happening in Chicago. What's going on in Chicago? We will fight violent crime and we will win. And we will win that one fairly quickly. Once we give the local police, the local law enforcement the right to go in and fight it," Trump said.
"I have personally been in communication with members of the Trump Administration," Rauner said.
Monday morning, the Republican governor appeared to distance himself from a reporter's suggestion that he might be distancing himself from Trump, who lost in heavily Democratic Illinois during the November presidential election.
When asked if he wanted to meet with the president, Rauner said: "I'll meet with the president anytime. As I mentioned, I've talked to him on the phone."
Without revealing details, Rauner said he's talked with White House staff about a plan to reduce Chicago violence.
"The policy that we're actually going to implement ... I am personally in conversations with the folks developing that. This is a big, critical issue," Rauner said.
However, Rauner appeared to disagree with Trump on whether stepped-up local police activity could stop Chicago violence "fairly quickly."
"We have a violence challenge in Illinois because we are not growing our economy because we are not creating jobs in our neighborhoods and our communities," Rauner said.