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Evanston resident Blair Garber resigned today as chair of the Illinois Lottery Control Board after he borrowed President Trump’s language to describe a predominantly black Illinois community.

Garber, the head of the Evanston Township Republican Organization, in post on Twitter Jan. 17 described East St. Louis, Illinois, as “the shithole of the universe.”

Trump on Jan. 11 triggered several days of controversy when he suggested in a meeting with Congressional leaders that the United States shouldn’t admit immigrants from Haiti, El Salvator and several African nations, which he described as “shithole countries.”

Garber’s comments were first reported by Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register and Rich Miller of Capitol Fax.

Garber’s Evanston GOP group last week endorsed Bruce Rauner in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Rauner appointed Garber to head the lottery panel in May 2016.

Garber is also the 9th Congressional District representative on the GOP State Central Committee.

A spokesman for Rauner today said, “There is no place for this kind of language in our political discourse.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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9 Comments

  1. Way to win hearts and influence people

    I missed the Dale Carnegie chapter on insulting your way to support.

      1. Whether he’s “allowed” is a

        Whether he’s “allowed” is a matter of perspective. He faced some pretty harsh blowback from all sides. They key difference between Trump’s language and the language used by Presidents like Lyndon Johnson (who used actual racist terms to describe American citizens) is that we learned about it immediately rather than in a Robert Caro biography.

        If, by “allowed,” you mean why hasn’t he been censured or impeached for it, see the U.S. Constitution.

  2. A person in Mr. Garber’s

    A person in Mr. Garber’s position should know better than to Tweet that language, regardless of what he’s describing. That said, my father-in-law (who is White) grew up in East Saint Louis and characterizes it in much the same way. 

  3. East St. Louis

    East St. Louis has the highest murder rate in the USA.  In 2015, East St. Louis had  27,006 residents.  There were 19 murders, 42 rapes, 682 cases of aggravated assault.

    In 1950, the population was 82,366.

    These are just facts and serve as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made in East St. Louis.  55,000 people left for a reason.

    1. East St. Louis

      Average ACT East Louis high school 19…ETHS…28

      Proficient at reading East St. Louis 4%…ETHS 39%

    2. Tired of False Equivalence Arguments
      I’m not disputing your “facts” (although I haven’t expended any effort to confirm it). But those “facts” don’t justify a subjective and derogatory comment about East St. Louis by a public official. His tweet was racist, plain and simple.

      1. Offensive to those living in
        Offensive to those living in East St. Louis? Yes. Racist? No.

        East St. Louis is in desperate need of help. Evanston proudly (rightly) sends huge service project teams to places in West Virginia and broader Appalachia, with racial profiles opposite East St. Louis, but economic profiles fully aligned. Perhaps, though, we could focus a little closer to home — in our own state — and send these same teams to work to help pull East St. Louis out of its downward spiral. If we’re even more honest about wanting to help, we could go no further than the Austin neighborhood in west Chicago.

        Garber was swiftly and correctly punished for his comments — but the comments do allow for further transparency into a forgotten community.

  4. Regardless of Mr. Garber’s
    Regardless of Mr. Garber’s feelings about East St. Louis, there is no room for this language in his position as a representative of the 9th Congressional District. I have worked the polls with him and I thought he was better than this. I am highly offended.

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