CHICAGO - Reaction to the release of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been swift and strong, and Chicago’s heavy hitters are weighing in.
Blagojevich's conviction certainly contributed to Chicago’s notoriety as the most corrupt city in America. But if you ask many local politicians, he did the time and now it's time to move on.
Reverend Jessie Jackson wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to commute the sentence of Blagojevich. Now, he believes that letter and a call from the president moved mountains.
"After all, 14 years is a long time for the threat to do a crime. It never really happened, no money exchanged hands. It was a bad situation,” Jackson said.
At City Hall, reaction ranged from sympathy to condemnation.
“He did some really good work. I think we look at that glim that was on him and not on the work that he’s done, in communities of color, so I’m excited that he’s home,” said 20th Ward Alderman Jeannette Taylor.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, though, felt different.
"What I would expect and we have not seen is one ounce of contrition for this man who held the highest office in our state and used it in a way that is shameful and that as a consequence was prosecuted and convicted by a jury of his peers and still, still has no capacity for acceptance of responsibility,” she said.
Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in.
"Now that he's come home, he's going to be continued to be remembered and the words disgraced and corrupt are going to be used in the same sentence with his name for at least some period of time,” he said.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a different approach.
"I think the Blagojevich family and his children more importantly have suffered long enough without their father. There's graduations, other milestones that have been missed. He's paid his price and let's all move on,” he said.
Emanual alluded to President Trump's motivations for releasing the governor early, but did not spell it out for us. He told the Sun-Times he believes more controversial commutations may be coming, and Trump is just greasing the skids.