Rauner Claims He Didn’t Interview Fired ‘Body Man,’ Sources Disagree

on Jul22

21 July 2017 | 7:55 pm

A week after an aide to Gov. Bruce Rauner was fired over “unacceptable tweets” found on his Twitter page, Rauner said he never interviewed him.

Rauner told reporters Friday he met with Ben Tracy once before Tracy was chosen to fill the role as a close assistant or “body man” to the governor but he said last Friday’s meeting wasn’t an interview.

Sources close to the administration tell Ward Room the governor did interview him and any claims to the contrary are false. But the role is a personal one, they said, as he’s required to be with the governor closely.

When asked by a reporter Friday to clarify it was his “body man” who was fired, Rauner said, “I don’t know the exact role or title. You know we’re obviously adding people all the time. You know, I don’t know about that.”

“But weren’t you involved in interviewing him?” the reporter asked. 

Rauner responded, “No, no. I met him once.”

Tracy was hired after Kyle Haevers, the previous “body man,” was reassigned. But Tracy was sent packing after the tweets were discovered—including one widely circulated that makes light of physical violence toward reporters.

”Maybe body slamming reporters is the winning formula for republicans in IL?” Tracy purportedly tweeted.

Last May, then-congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault for grabbing a reporter by the neck and “body-slamming” him to the ground.

“There is no excuse for this. Competent staff would thoroughly vet any new staff member, especially those who will serve in the most sensitive positions in the administration,” a former Rauner administration official tells NBC 5. “The governor would have personally interviewed and approved of this individual. He needs to explain why he and his new team allowed this to happen.”

Other tweets on Tracy’s page included homophobic and racist language. Some of the tweets were captured by screenshots and shared on social media Monday.

“These tweets are unacceptable,” said Laurel Patrick, an administration spokeswoman. “The individual in question is no longer an employee of our Administration.”

Tracy’s firing comes amid a storm of recent resignations, dismissals and reassignments in the administration–including Rauner’s chief of staff.

Tracy’s Twitter account has been deleted. There has been no announcement of a new “body man” hired. 

Published at 2:37 PM CDT on Jul 21, 2017 | Updated at 2:55 PM CDT on Jul 21, 2017

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