Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Thursday morning event at The Atlantic was canceled at the last minute due to the torrential rains and subsequent flood ravaging the Windy City. Yet, it doesn’t appear the mayor canceled plans to be at the White House on Friday.
The weather in Chicago was so horrendous that by Thursday afternoon, flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport were grounded or severely delayed. On Friday, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency in 38 Illinois counties, including Cook County, where Chicago is located, and the neighboring counties. And Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., was on the ground to see the devastation first hand.
By contrast, Emanuel was seen walking past the Westend Bistro in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Thursday night. On Friday, Emanuel went to the White House, which houses another famous Chicagoan, President Barack Obama.
According to the mayor’s office, Emanuel left Chicago Thursday morning. The mayor was in D.C. to participate in the (now-rescheduled) Atlantic event and to meet with former President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the launch of a new infrastructure taskforce.
The White House visit is just something he does whenever he is in Washington, said Sarah Hamilton, spokeswoman for the mayor’s office. Emanuel, Obama’s first chief of staff, and White House officials apparently catch up and chat about various issues having to do with Chicago.
As for whether the mayor is concerned about how it looks for him to be away while his city is under water, Hamilton assured us that he has stayed abreast of the situation, working the phones beginning late Wednesday night and receiving constant updates.
Meredith Shiner and Warren Rojas contributed to the report.