Sanders distances himself from Rahm Emanuel

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders aide: We're trying to open party to 'new blood' Sanders to Larry David: 'I want you to keep your job' Clinton allies blame Bernie for bad polls MORE (I-Vt.) has distanced himself from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders aide: We're trying to open party to 'new blood' Poll: Most voters think Trump should release tax returns Poll: Clinton, Trump disliked by majority of Americans MORE supporter embroiled in criticism after the death of an unarmed black teenager in 2014.

“If the question is, do I want or need Rahm Emanuel’s support for president, with all due respect for the mayor, no I don’t,” Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, told reporters Wednesday during a swing through Chicago, according to The Washington Post and other media outlets. Sanders continues to promote his commitment to racial equality in the hopes of winning African-American support. 

When asked if Emanuel’s “vision for criminal justice reform matches” his own, Sanders added, “I expect not.”

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Emanuel, a former White House adviser to Presidents Bill ClintonBill ClintonKenneth Starr piles praises on Bill Clinton Michelle Fields warns Clinton camp: 'Don’t treat Trump as serious candidate’ Trump on '90s suicide of top Clinton aide: ‘Very fishy’ MORE and Barack ObamaBarack ObamaClinton allies blame Bernie for bad polls Bill Press: Bernie is not a threat John Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince MORE, continues to face criticism and some calls to resign in light of the death of Laquan McDonald, specifically over the delay in releasing police dashcam video from the death for more than a year.  

Sanders responded to that criticism earlier this month by calling for a federal investigation in to the Chicago Police Department. While he didn’t expressly side with protestors calling for Emanuel to resign, he said that “any official who helped suppress the videotape of Laquan McDonald's murder should be held accountable.” 

“And any elected official with knowledge that the tape was being suppressed or improperly withheld should resign,” he said.

Democratic candidate Clinton also supports the federal investigation, but she told reporters in Iowa earlier this month that she’s “confident [Emanuel is] going to do everything he can to get to the bottom of these issues and take whatever measures are necessary to remedy them,” according to Bloomberg.

Emanuel endorsed Clinton for president in May 2014, several months before McDonald was killed.

Sanders visited the Windy City this week accompanied by Commissioner Jesús García, Emanuel’s main challenger for reelection earlier this year who had been endorsed by Sanders. 

He also emphasized, both on the stump and during a press conference, the need for criminal justice reform, calling it “one of the most important things that a president of the United States can do.” 

Rapper Killer Mike, civil rights activist Cornel West, former Clinton supporter and Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, and co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream Ben Cohen also joined Sanders in Chicago.

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