Rahm Emanuel has an historically hot temper. That was evident yesterday during an interview with NBC Chicago’s Mary Ann Ahern, when he got testy with a local reporter who decided to push him about his decision to send his kids to private, not public, school.
“Mary Ann, let me break the news to you. My children are not in a public position,” he said in a stern way. “I am. You’re asking me a value statement and not a policy. … No, no, you have to appreciate this. My children are not an instrument of me being mayor. My children are my children, and that may be news to you, and that may be new to you, Mary Ann, but you have to understand that I’m making this decision as a father.”
After Ahern continued to press him on the issue, Emanuel got so flustered he stood up, took off his mic, dropped it on the floor, and walked away, even though though the Ahern implored him to stay and talk:
But that was just the beginning. Ahren goes on to explain that once the cameras stopped rolling, Emanuel became furious, even getting within inches of her face:
Then, the Mayor of Chicago positioned himself inches from my face and pointed his finger directly at my head. He raised his voice and admonished me. How dare I ask where his children would go to school!
“You’ve done this before,” he said.
This was the Emanuel we had heard about, and it was one of the oddest moments in my 29 years of reporting.
My two interns followed out of City Hall and back to the station.
Several hours later I called the mayor directly since I happened on his cell number and saved it. I thought it might be best to clear the air. But no air was cleared.
“My children are private and you will not do this,” he said into the receiver.
He said other children of public figures – Chelsea Clinton and the Obama girls – have been kept out of the public eye, despite media attention on the admission to the Sidwell Friends Academy in Washington D.C.
I tried to explain he had a point, but their parents too had to answer the question of what school they would attend. No one is trying to have lunch with the first children.
I also let him know that I felt wronged and bullied during his earlier tirade.
“You are wrong and a bully,” Emanuel fired back. “I care deeply for my family. I don’t care about you.”
With that, he hung up the phone.
To be fair, Emanuel isn’t the only politician who feels like his personal school choice for his kids is inconsequential. Last month, GOP NJ. Gov. Chris Christie chastised a woman for suggesting he couldn’t make decisions regarding public schools because he didn’t send his kids to them:
One thing is clear: political fathers don’t want you asking about their children.