Rahm Emanuel Says He Has 'Great Relationship' With First Lady: Disputes Claims In 'The Obamas' Book (VIDEO)
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel briefly responded to reports of tension between himself, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during a press conference on the Southwest Side Sunday.
Emanuel, who was touting a $660 million school infrastructure project, told reporters that he still has a "great relationship" with the Obama family, after a new book described their relationship as "distant and awkward." "The Obamas," by Jodi Kantor of The New York Times, is about the strain the president's first few years in office placed on his marriage.
“I know what I know which is the truth," Emanuel told reporters, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "And I’m very proud to have worked for the president and the first lady, and Amy and I are very proud to call them friends.”
Emanuel also said he and his wife Amy joined Michelle and Barack Obama for a private holiday party, and said he spoke with the president over the weekend.
"The Obamas" describes several instances of Emanuel becoming frustrated with Michelle Obama, and says that he wanted to avoid a close working relationship with her based on his negative experiences with Hillary Clinton.
"Michelle and Rahm Emanuel had almost no bond; their relationship was distant and awkward from the beginning. She had been skeptical of him when he was selected, and now he returned the favor; he was uneasy about first ladies in general, several aides close to him said, based on clashes with Hillary Clinton in the 1990s that became so severe that she had tried to fire him from her husband's administration. Now Emanuel was chief of staff, a position that almost never included an easy relationship with the first lady. They were the president's two spouses, in a sense, one public and official and one private and informal."
The book also describes an epic rant by Emanuel before the 2010 congressional elections. He allegedly berated White House staffers for leaking a memo to a Politco reporter.
"Just because someone wants to put their dick on the table, we have to deal with this!" he allegedly screamed. (Read more about the rant here.)
Emanuel told ABC Chicago Sunday that he had not read the book, and would not address certain claims made in it.