Obama praises Rahm Emanuel after saying he won't seek reelection

Former President Obama offered praise to his former White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, on Tuesday after the Chicago mayor announced that he would not seek reelection in November.

In a statement Tuesday shortly following Emanuel's announcement, the former president and Chicago resident said his city was "stronger" for Emanuel's leadership.

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"With record job growth and record employment over his terms in office, Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country," Obama said.

"I’ve been blessed to call Rahm my friend," the former president added. "Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service."

Emanuel served as Obama's White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010, when he left the administration to pursue a bid in Chicago's mayoral elections.

During his time as mayor, Emanuel launched a plan to expand free pre-Kindergarten to all city children, regardless of income, but has clashed with Black Lives Matter activists over his response to police shootings.

The former president praised Emanuel's education initiatives in his statement while avoiding mentioning the challenges Emanuel has faced in recent months.

"The announcement to establish universal pre-K in Chicago, on top of universal kindergarten, will give all our kids the best possible start. And his implementation of debt-free community college will help prepare all our young people for the new economy," Obama said.

Demonstrators shut down traffic on a busy city avenue in early August calling for the Democratic mayor's resignation over recent police-involved shootings, which they said Emanuel had not addressed.

“There are too many killings in Chicago, there are too many police-involved killings in Chicago,” one of the demonstration’s organizers, Tio Hardiman, told the Chicago Tribune last month. “It’s time to change the narrative in Chicago.”