The Latest: Pritzker apologizes for comments on race
CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on newly released FBI wiretaps of Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (all times local):
Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is apologizing for racially insensitive comments captured on a FBI wiretap between him and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Pritzker said Tuesday he regrets portions of the conversations recorded during a decade-old investigation of Blagojevich, who’s now imprisoned for corruption.
Pritzker is heard suggesting Blagojevich appoint Secretary of State Jesse White, calling him the “least offensive” African American.
White, who’s supported Pritzker’s candidacy, stood beside the billionaire businessman during Tuesday’s news conference. Other black lawmakers joined them.
Pritzker’s opponents in the March 20 primary condemned the comments. State Sen. Daniel Biss says the conversation is “racially insensitive at best and at worst reveals an attitude that is disrespectful to African Americans.”
Newly released FBI wiretaps captured Democratic Illinois governor candidate J.B. Pritzker telling then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich that a state lawmaker was the “least offensive” African American he could appoint to a U.S. Senate seat.
The Chicago Tribune published the previously unreleased recording from a decade-old investigation of Blagojevich late Monday. Blagojevich is now imprisoned for convictions that included trying to trade an appointment to Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat for campaign cash.
On the recording, Pritzker suggests Blagojevich appoint Secretary of State Jesse White rather than other African Americans. He says doing so “covers you on the African American thing.”
Pritzker also is heard laughing as Blagojevich jokes about appointing Obama’s minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Pritzker told the Tribune he’s supported many minority candidates. He’s scheduled a Tuesday news conference.