Rahm Emanuel – “The Nation City” and the Powers and Pitfalls of the Mayor’s Office | The Daily Show

By | February 29, 2020

Before we get into the book, we just watched
a Democratic debate, um… which has gotten
a lot more exciting than it has been
in the past few debates. You’ve been involved
in Democratic politics, specifically,
for a very long time. How do you think
the Democratic race is going? Uh, well, I think–
here’s how I look at it. What’s interesting–
just one observation– is that viewership
of the debates is up, but participation
in the primaries is not. It’s not beating 2008,
when we had record turnouts. So that… concerns me. In 2018, 2019,
we had record energy. And right now, uh,
the debates are not producing the type of energy
you want to see. So I have a small
flashing yellow light saying: a little concern on that. It can always flip, but right now I’m
a little concerned about that. And also, the other thing
is that I have a new respect for my family
Thanksgiving dinner– it looks a lot calmer
compared to this. -(laughter) -It does seem like
it has become a lot more testy. You know, Bloomberg
stepping into the race might have been a catalyst,
but it feels like as the field narrows,
people are gonna fighting… -The stakes are higher.
-Yeah. You were in the D-triple-C. You have been part of helping
Democrats win major elections. You know, helping Bill Clinton
become president, working with Barack Obama
as his chief of staff. Here’s a question that maybe you would be mostly uniquely
positioned to answer. We have two mayors
on that stage… Three. Three… previous mayors,
with Bernie Sanders, yes. But two mayors, you know, who
just stepped out of being mayor, saying that they want to run
the country as president. Yeah. Does a mayor have
the prerequisite experience to run a country? You’ve worked with a president,
and you’ve been mayor. How much of it gives you
the experience you need? Well, first of all, a lot. Um, I… you know,
the number one job before being for president
was governor. All four governors have been thrown off
the island, basically, and you’re now left with mayors. In England, the mayor of London has just become
the prime minister. -Right. -And the experiences
of dealing with… When you think about
where you live, where you work, how you get to work, the things
around your neighborhood, from libraries to parks,
those are all services local governments deal with. When you look at the major
issues on climate change, cities are leading. When you look
at the major cities– Chicago, we made community college free
for the students of the city of Chicago
who got a B average. We made pre-K universal
for all our four-year-olds. So the things that are major in the sense
of inclusive economic growth, climate change,
immigration policy, mayors are taking that lead. And the other piece of this,
two other pieces of this– the second piece is
you actually fail in the job, and you learn, then,
from that experience. And legislating
is not really about failure. Give one– I used to say
to President Clinton: If we knew in the first year
of the first term what we knew by the first… by the, uh,
first year of the second term, -we’d be geniuses.
-Right. And if you go back in history–
think about President Kennedy. He had the Bay of Pigs. A mess. Realized the Joint Chiefs didn’t know
what they were talking about, took a study of it, and when it came
to the Cuban Missile Crisis, -Mm-hmm.
-he knew how to handle it. And mayors…
stumble all the time. And then the other piece
of that– and then pick themselves up,
learn from it and apply it to the future.
And then the third piece… But wait, let me ask you this
before you go to that, though. So if-if that’s the case,
if mayors are running the world, then why is everyone running
to be president? Well, because it still has…
the challenge you take on– not everybody’s… not every
mayor’s running to be president. But I think the real thing is
of what is happening, -is you have a global economy,
-Mm-hmm. but all politics is local. And 75% of the American people have confidence
in their local government, and that number’s in the mid-20s
for national government. Uh, and I do also think
one other thing. We’re falling…
we’re really ripping apart. In the city of Chicago–
this is true in New York, it’s true in L.A., it’s true in
a lot of cities of all sizes– we have 145 languages spoken
in our city. Many different faiths,
cultures, backgrounds. But the aspiration of a parent, regardless
of where they came from, -Right.
-is the same for their child. And mayors form a community
and a sense of belonging. And in a period of time
of alienation and distance, that sense of belonging
gives you something that is really an asset
going forward, where your diversity
really can become a strength rather than a liability. So, let me ask you this,
then, about the book. Because I understand
what you’re saying about, you know, being a mayor
who’s bringing people together. In the book,
you talk about the journey that you’ve been on as a mayor. You talk about
the challenges that you face, you know, on a day-to-day level working for your constituents
directly. Is there something that
makes being a mayor unique in how you’re dealing
with people versus just larger issues? Yeah, I mean, you’re, you know,
there’s a part of the book where I talk about, I mean,
you celebrate together, -you have pain together,
-Mm-hmm. you have, uh, joy…
moments of joy, and then you work through
a lot of issues. You are in touch
with the people, and in many ways, I mean,
people give you– especially in Chicago–
there’s thumbs-up, and there’s another digit
they can also tell you, and that happens all the time. Uh, and I think
that happens in the… That was a cleaned-up version
for me. -I really, I’m proud of myself.
-Right. That’s very unusual for me. Uh, so the fact is,
that’s what happens. And… but also,
you can be there when– and I will say this–
when I created the Chicago Star Scholarship–
you got a B average, we make community college,
transportation, books free– I saw the relief
on parents’ face, that they didn’t have to pick which child got a chance
to go to college. They didn’t have to take
a second mortgage on their home to give their child
a chance at the American dream. And the relief of the sense that
they could be a good parent and see what they
could never get for themselves, but for their children, that can
only happen at a local level. Now, I would love to have had
a federal partner, but I had to make sure
every chance… every child had a chance
at the future. And you do talk about that,
and you have been given a lot of credit
for what you’ve done in the education space
in Chicago. At the same time,
you’ve taken a lot of fire, -you know, for…
-In education. Right, in education as well,
but you’ve taken a lot of fire for closing down schools that were predominantly black
or Latino. People have said,
“You know, Mayor, “why did you close down
those schools in areas where people
needed it the most?” -You know how important it is
-Right. to have black and brown kids
in school, learning, growing. You closed those schools down, because you said
they were underperforming. A lot of the teachers
went on strike, and they said you
weren’t catering to their needs. Where do you think
you could have done better, or what do you think
you could have done differently? So, the first part is,
when I ran in 2011, Chicago had the shortest school
day and the shortest school year in the United States of America. I made a pledge
to get that done. That our children
were not gonna be cheated three years of education
compared to a child in Houston. Now, I could have said,
“Hey,” when I got elected, “this is really hard,”
and then people would be angry -I gave up on a pledge.
-Mm-hmm. I made that pledge,
and I wanted to see it through. It led to a seven-day strike,
but in the end of the day, our graduation rate went
from 56% to nearly 80% Our reading scores
and math scores for all kids
of all backgrounds rose and sometimes, in many ways,
set national standards. So, being a mayor,
you’re gonna… If all you want to be loved,
don’t run for that job. -Right.
-If you want to make a decision where the decisions you make and you put your thumb
on the scale and the difference
between a 56% graduation rate and an 80% graduation rate is
kids can believe in themselves and then have a chance
at a future. -Did you… -And that’s
what public life is about. Right. But do you ever…
do you ever wonder why, you know,
people in Chicago… Not all of them.
I cannot speak for all of them. You know more than them,
obviously. But-but in Chicago, there was…
there was a term that some people used for you
where they would say, “Rahm was an amazing mayor
for the one percent.” -Yeah. -You know,
and you knew that yourself. You’ve even spoken about that. Where do you think
that came from? Well, because we-we did
a lot of things, and let me say this. We never gave a subsidy
to any of the the sports teams. We expanded the minimum wage. -We created universal,
full-day pre-K. -Mm-hmm. We also eliminated
all the tax subsidies that governments were getting.
Companies were getting, rather. -Right. -And, so,
I can understand the charge, but I also know the record,
and I know the difference in Chicago public schools where
when you graduate high school and go to community college, there’s nobody
in the one percent getting that. -I get the politics of it.
-Right. But I also know when you made
a major dent in the food deserts where there were
no grocery stores within, uh, five mile
of a neighborhood in a community on the South Side
or the West Side, that was not just a job, and that was not just
a grocery store. That was also the respect
of that community. -That comes with politics,
and I get that. -Right. Let me… let me ask you
about an interesting trend and dilemma that America faces. On the stage tonight,
we had two… As you said, three former mayors
with Bernie Sanders, -but two who say mayor was their
last public office job. -Yeah. -Mm-hmm.
-And those two are also the two that are taking the most flak
for their relationships with the black communities
that they served and the police
and how they treated them. You yourself are a mayor
who’s came under fire for the way your police treated the black community
in your city. You know,
the Laquan McDonald case was one where people said you could have
done a better job in releasing the video. You could have done a better job of communicating
with the community, and it felt like
you were protecting the police. Is it the case in America where mayors
seem to be protecting the police
more than their constituents? No. Well,
the other thing I would say is you saw that Amy Klobuchar had a, uh, background
as a prosecutor. She’s also come under fire. So if you’re involved in that
in one aspect, you’re gonna get hit on that. And every mayor
as well as in the prosecutors are making efforts
to get both good public safety, which is the number one priority
for… as your responsibility, as well as do it in a way
that is good policing. You work at it every day. There’s not just a point
you hit at it. And the fact is, whether it’s Mike Bloomberg
or Mayor Pete, Amy Klobuchar, others who
also are getting criticized… Joe Biden for his support
of Violence Against Women but also the ’94 Crime Act. People are now
coming under attack for that, and people are looking
at it different. And then the question is
how do you apply those efforts going forward to find the basis
of community policing? -And in a big city…
-So, if you’re looking back, -I would… I’d be interested
to know. -Yeah. Because I-I agree with you.
In life, you look back, and you go like, “Man, I could
have done something different. I wish I could have
changed that.” You do talk about that
in the book. You talk about how you wish
you could have changed some of the-the ways you treated
the policing issues -or how you would have dealt
with them. -Yeah. I-I have always been fascinated
by this when I talk to mayors -or read books of mayors once
they’ve left office. -Mm-hmm. Is it the case that as mayors, there’s a part of you
that is afraid to go up against
your police unions because of how much power
they hold in reelecting you? Or-or is it really just
a symbiotic relationship where the mayor goes, “I’m
with the police no matter what”? No. A-Actually, no.
I think there’s… I don’t want to speak
for all the mayors, but I would say this. Making a major change
in both the laws and the culture while also executing
on public safety… Both… Doing both of those
simultaneously, not one at the expense
of the other, takes a tremendous amount
of leadership. So, prior to, uh,
everything happening in Chicago in 2016, I… The first city ever to make
a voluntary agreement with the ACLU to check policing,
whether it was done right. We did the Safer Commission. And we also did
the first ever… Only ever city to do reparations for prior acts
of police department 20 years prior to my tenure. No city’s ever done that. I thought we had addressed it. The problem
and the d-depth of distrust was much deeper
than I accepted and understood. And while we were fighting crime
every day, visiting fa… a parent
who’s in the hospital alone, seeing the depth
of what happened and being isolated
because you as a parent could not protect your child,
what happened on the streets, that happens. And then at the same time, you’re trying to make changes
to the police department. You’re trying
to do both of those. And so it doesn’t…
What you understand is that the problem
is a lot deeper than people understood
and appreciated. And the fact is
you have to make changes because policing
needed some of the insurance, oversight and regulations
that have not kept up with community policing and make it
true community policing. I have one final question
for you before we let you go. I could talk to you forever
about the book and your job, but you did it… From the few things you’ve said not just in the interview
but in the book, you’ve said it’s not easy.
It’s a thankless job. Everyone’s gonna hate you
at the end of it. You’re gonna do your best, and you’re gonna work
your hardest. -Knowing what you know now…
-It’s not like a c… -It’s not like a comedy show.
-Yes. Knowing what you know now… Or it could be like
a comedy show. Knowing what you know now,
would you do it again? Oh, abso… Let me say this. I’ve had
the greatest public life. working for senior advisor,
President Clinton, Congress, chief of staff
for President Obama, mayor. Mayor over here.
All those three together. Mayor’s far better. The highs are unbelievable.
The lows are unbelievable. But as mayor of city of Chicago, I now know that children
at the age of four, not at the age of six,
get an education. We added four years
to a child’s education. You can’t do anywhere, and you know the trajectory
of their lives -because you did that.
-Mm-hmm. And you were willing
to spend your political capital and your popularity to make a difference
in a child’s life. In a former life,
I was gonna become an early childhood educator. Not that I would recommend
you give your kids time with me, okay,
in that effort. But having done… known that, then knowing that you can make
and take on a battle and change a person’s life
and the trajectory… You know, there’s a saying
in Rabbi, uh, Hillel. “Who are you
if not for yourself? “What are you
if you’re only for yourself? If not now, then when?” My late father said that to me
on my bar mitzvah. And he says,
“Your responsibility “now that you become a Jew
and an adult “is to know
that you can make a difference in somebody else’s life.” That is the most rewarding thing
you can do in public life, is give somebody else a chance
of having a better life. -I loved it. -Thank you so much
for being on the show. The Nation City
is available now. Rahm Emanuel, everybody.

40 thoughts on “Rahm Emanuel – “The Nation City” and the Powers and Pitfalls of the Mayor’s Office | The Daily Show

  1. munmun hazarika Post author

    This guy is embodiment of all d rot in center of politics

  2. shkibby1 Post author

    With how proud he is of his progressive ideals as mayor, you'd think he'd be more for it on the national level. But he's too busy dodging questions to think about that, I guess.

  3. Justine Bayod Espoz Post author

    Make no mistake, Emanuel is no longer the Mayor of Chicago because Chicagoans were done with him. His tenure was devastating for working class citizens and people of color. The teacher's union couldn't stand him, and he closed all those public schools to give contracts to charter schools (big money campaign donors). The man can talk a good game, but the truth speaks volumes.

  4. The Naked Trucker Post author

    Born and raised on the south side still currently residing. I don’t care what nobody has to say he was a good Mayor of the city of Chicago. You gotta give it to him the man got stuff done. Problem with that is people really don’t like change especially a lot of it. Problem with any good change is it adds value and more valuable becomes more expensive. Everyone wants a government catered to them and that’s just not how government works. Any good government has to look out for everyone. Now is he one of the best mayors? No. Was he my favorite mayor? Most certainly not. He’s not really a people person and can be a bit cold and distant as most businessmen/politicians are. And yes most definitely he should have handled the Laquan McDonald case better and also tighten the reigns on CPD and their union like Mayor Lightfoot is currently doing. But like I said the man got stuff done and added value to the city of Chicago.

  5. Xochitl Ahuiliztli Post author

    God I can’t stand him. He was the reason our schools were so crowded and under served. Plus he tried to by off the family of Laquan McDonald

  6. Mscat Post author

    Rahm brought nothing but death and destruction to black and brown families on south and west side communities. He cut of economic opportunities to our communities, he threatened our minister’s to manage the communities; he over policed black and brown communities; he blamed the communities for the violence; he left the violent offenders in the communities to terrorized the community and continue to kill others in the communities; he left Chicago “chiraq” with the worst global reputation. He was the worst thing to happen to Chicago ever. May the universe serve him in that same light which he served the black and brown families of Chicago.

  7. Sean Smith Post author

    You can blame the DNC of 2016 for the people that aren't coming out in 2020. If you want to improve public safety, improve the quality of living in your city. Also, stop making me look at your hands Rahm.

  8. Isaac Gracia Post author

    Local governments don’t have the media focusing on their every move so…foh

  9. Mr Underhill Post author

    you can't trust anytrhing this guy says – he is one of the spinners of the fake news we have all been subjected to –

  10. M. Holmes Post author

    This bastard is the worst and NEVER should have been mayor of Chicago! Long live Harold Washington's legacy….the best mayor Chicago ever had!

  11. Debra Jensen Post author

    All the energy is in the Bernie camp but y'all keep denying it so you're right, the rest of the candidates don't inspire us. Get over it and get behind Bernie.

  12. Fauler Perfektionist Post author

    He's still trying to pedal tuition-free education for students with a B average or better as some kind of reform, but the fact is, it means that those who don't pass a class not only have to retake it to get credit for it but have to carry around all this debt, afterward. Tuition is not necessary in preschool, elementary school, middle school or high school, and increasingly, the opportunities that, 20 years ago, were opened by a high school diploma or GED now require a bachelor's degree. All of this means we should be making college education more accessible, and therefore, more affordable.
    If you want to drive an empire, you can have a few educated elites and leave the masses ignorant, but the fact is, if you want to drive a republic, you have to educate the masses.

  13. Fauler Perfektionist Post author

    "Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?"
    "Oh, abso-let me say this."
    Oh. So he would? 🤔 Why hasn't he? Does he have term limits that have run out?

  14. Tanner Wilson Post author

    This is another reason why I would like to see much shorter election timespan’s. We’re the only country that has 2 year long election campaigns while many other nations like 🇨🇦 and 🇬🇧 can go from start to finish about 3 months. With our format, it’s longer by design but they has got to be a way to go from start to finish in about 6 month’s.

  15. Louverture desprit Nest Pas Une Fracture du Crane Post author

    This man is utter trash. He metastasized Chicago politics and Illinois as a whole, messed up the educators on the field, small business owner a.k.a. The REAL ECONOMY, enabled off the book prisons people as young as 15 died after being arrested for loitering What the ever hating fuck? Then again he just prolonged Status Quo. Ghastly.
    Now he's pretending to care…
    I'm still reeling from seeing him at the French equivalent of AIPAC. One of us squeezed him about how Falasha were treated in Israel, sterilizations and shit.
    He got kicked out with the quickness.
    Now with Macron being Anti-Zionist could be likened to Anti-Semitism.
    A bloody disgrace.
    Please vote for local elections, don't let Panis e Circenses of Presidential elections fool. War starts at home.

  16. glennsteven 0917 Post author


  17. Last Grasp Post author

    This guy's a Zionist. His loyalty, as a politician or a private citizen, was and is not for America or Americans. According to the Wikipedia article about him, "Emanuel took part in a two-week civilian volunteer holiday, known as the Sar-El, where, as a civilian volunteer, he assisted the Israel Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War," "Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with "heavily Jewish" donors helped Clinton amass a then-unheard-of sum of $72 million. While working on the Clinton campaign Emanuel was a paid retainer of the investment bank Goldman Sachs." "Emanuel sent a dead fish in a box to a pollster who was late delivering polling results. On the night after the 1992 election, angry at Democrats and Republicans who "betrayed" them in the 1992 election, Emanuel stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign and began plunging a steak knife into the table and began rattling off names while shouting "Dead! Dead! Dead!". And in this interview he proudly states, "I've had the greatest public life." Given his public record, it's safe to say that his past allegiance is alive and well established today.

  18. Christel Headington Post author

    Yeah Rahm, City-States have worked out so good in history.

  19. Steve J Post author

    His book more than likely SUCKS as he Sucked at being a mayor!!!

  20. C J Post author

    Community college for those who do well? What about those who don’t? Who aren’t that talented?
    That just adds to the inequalities,..

  21. Iris Juhasz Post author

    i'm glad that trevor brings on a diverse variety of guests but this guy was dodging questions like no other…like bRuH

  22. 刘翔 Post author

    da fuk… how the fuck did i get to see the guy who butt fucked chicago everywhere these days?

  23. Michael Rowsell Post author

    The Mayor of London (Johnson ) is a liar ,lazy ,and an opportunist. He riding a populist wave of the stupid.

  24. KC Mosley Post author

    Rahm Emanuel created policies and systems that continued segregation and deepened poverty and crime and trauma and pain. I pray others will not continue giving him the possibility to have a voice or influence any policy or perspective on how to run anything. He was a miserable mayor for everyone except the 1%.

  25. Debbie Menon Post author

    Good job Trevor. Rahm and Obama are two peas in a pod. All talk !! Corporate hacks. Michelle too worse than her husband. Michelle thinks she's the Black cats whiskers🤣

  26. T Wallace Post author

    A good PR rep will do wonders…thank God I can read and dont rely on 🦊 News

  27. wandah03 Post author

    These mayors (Emmanuel and Bloomberg) love to talk about "public safety" at the expense of black and brown people's rights. And somehow they do it with a straight face convinced that they're doing the right thing.
    As if black and brown people are responsible for all the crime.

  28. Alexandros Patsikos Post author

    both shameful. for one more time , Noah is doing anything in his powers to undermine Bernie

  29. Conner Ahnen Post author

    TREVORRRRRRRR. HES THE ONE MAYOR WE REALLY SHOULDNT BE GETTING TIPS FROMMMMM ! i just can’t believe someone can take this man seriously 😭😭


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