Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under fire after the release of a video that showed the shooting death of a black teenager, had an at-times tense and awkward interview with Politico on Wednesday.
The day after dismissing Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Emanuel aggressively defended his record, amid a barrage of questions over his management of the police department and speculation over whether his administration attempted to deliberately stall the release of the video.
“I’m comfortable with who I am and what I’ve done,” Emanuel said. “I’m not perfect.”
When asked by Politico’s Natasha Korecki if he was trying to “hide” his own mistakes behind a self-selected panel tasked with investigating the Chicago Police Department’s practices, Emanuel attempted to deflect the concerns as a media creation.
“You are reflecting the immediacy of cable television,” Emanuel said.
“I’m reflecting what the community is asking for,” Korecki said in response.
The mayor has faced intense criticism from all sides over his administration’s handling of the aftermath of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald’s shooting death at the hands of a white police officer. The officer, who shot McDonald 16 times, has been charged with murder., and may have intentionally worked against the release of the video to help Emanuel’s reelection prospects.
In a brutal op-ed published on Monday, The New York Times editorial board called on the mayor to resign, citing instances where the administration dragged its feet despite mounting pressure from the public. The op-ed suggested he demonstrated a “willful ignorance” as part of a “cover up.”
Emanuel disputed that his administration attempted to bury the video’s release, citing an ongoing federal investigation into the case, and said that he never saw it before it was released.
“There are lots of investigations going on across the city. I don’t look at the evidence,” Emanuel said.
At times during Wednesday’s panel, Emanuel appeared increasingly incensed at questions about his response to the shooting and his sudden decision to fire Chicago’s police superintendent.
Asked about whether he was too concerned with how his actions appeared in the press, Emanuel sarcastically shot back.
“How do you think that’s working?” Emanuel said.
When Politico’s Mike Allen pressed him on The Times’ call for Emanuel’s resignation, the mayor acknowledged his own displeasure with the way the interview was going.
“Because I really so much look forward to this interview and I wanted to have it,” Emanuel said, before turning to Allen. “It just felt so good saying that to you.”
Emanuel and Allen also had an awkward exchange when Allen revealed that Emanuel planned to vacation with his family in Cuba later this year, information that was apparently not yet public.
“I really don’t appreciate that,” Emanuel said.
Watch video of that exchange below:
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