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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Giuliani, Rudy

  • Giuliani Partners: Founder
  • 2008 GOP Presidential Candidate
  • Former Mayor of New York

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Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani is a former Republican politician who served as mayor of New York City during 1994-2001, including at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since leaving office he has led a consulting practice and launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He has also become a vocal right-wing political pundit, often appearing on TV to warn about terrorists, fear-monger over Islam, or advocate overseas U.S. military intervention.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Giuliani was an important Donald Trump surrogate, often justifying Trump’s conspiratorial talking points to the press, including the claim that President Barack Obama “founded ISIS.” When a CNN host said to Giuliani during an interview that the claim was simply factually incorrect, Giuliani retorted that “It is true in the sense that before Obama, ISIS was an almost unknown small little organization.” At one point considered to be a potential pick for attorney general or secretary of state in the Trump administration, Giuliani was eventually appointed to advise Trump on cyber-security issues.

The former mayor has transparently used 9/11 as a rationale for promoting hawkish policies, including during his unsuccessful 2008 campaign, whose foreign policy advisers included many notable hawks and neoconservatives like Norman Podhoretz and Steven Rosen.[1]

Giuliani’s efforts to capitalize on his role in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks spurred then-Sen. Joe Biden to quip, “There’s only three things [Giuliani] mentions in a sentence—a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There’s nothing else!”[2]

He frequetly uses scare tactics when discussing Islam. For instance, he called plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in Manhattan a “desecration.” Speaking to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, Giuliani exclaimed: “It not only is exactly the wrong place, right at ground zero, but it’s a mosque supported by an imam who has a record of support for causes that were sympathetic with terrorism. Come on! We’re gonna allow that at ground zero? … This is a desecration. Nobody would allow something like that at Pearl Harbor. … I mean, they died there because of Islamic extremist terrorism. They are our enemy, we can say that.”[3]

Giuliani’s Neoconservatism

The former mayor’s centrist views on some social issues have led to Giuliani being labeled a GOP moderate. However, on matters of foreign policy, Giuliani is a hard-line neoconservative. Giuliani’s comments on Middle East policy during the Obama administration have cemented his militarist reputation. He calls President Obama a “weakling” for supposedly failing to persuade Iran that the United States would “bomb the hell out of them” if Iran attempted to develop a nuclear weapon. “We are the largest military in the entire world, they are a small, tiny little military power compared to us,” Giuliani said.[4]

Like many neocon ideologues, Giuliani frames his hawkishness on the Middle East as a contest between radical Islamism and western civilization, leading to criticism that Giuliani’s “simplistic message” is that terrorists attack Americans because they “oppose our freedom.”[5]

During the Iraq War, Giuliani linked the decision to invade Iraq with the 9/11 attacks, long after such links had been discredited. “They’re at war with us. They want to come here and kill us,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “And they did on September 11, and they did a long time before September 11. Way back in 1993, they came to this city and killed people. So we’ve got to put Iraq in the context of a much broader picture than just Iraq. And getting Iraq correctly, in other words, getting stability there is real important. And I support what the president asked for support to do.”[6]

Controversies

A Vanity Fair overview of the former mayor’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners—which was set up in 2002 and proceeded to earn some $100 million in the ensuing six years—revealed that Giuliani had “brazenly built a business on his 9/11 fame.” Noting in particular the firm’s work to wind down a federal investigation of the prescription drug OxyContin (which has been responsible for a wave of addiction-related overdoses) and its dealings with a penny-stock firm connected to “an S.E.C.-disciplined stock swindler,” among many other cases, author Michael Shnayerson concluded, “In doing business with these companies, Giuliani has sometimes created at least an appearance of poor judgment, or greed, or both.” [7]

Especially controversial was Giuliani’s relationship with Bernard Kerik, a former driver for Giuliani’s mayoral campaign who was promoted to police commissioner during the mayor’s administration. By 2004, Giuliani and Kerik were jointly running Giuliani-Kerik, a security consulting firm, when the former mayor personally recommended to President Bush that Kerik be nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security. However, Kerik’s nomination promptly came to an end in the wake of a raft of allegations of impropriety ranging from extramarital affairs to tax fraud to public corruption. “If Kerik had landed the job,” wonders Shnayerson, “would he not have been in the perfect position, on behalf of the federal government, to buy lots of the very security products and services that Giuliani Partners had been nursing along and investing in?”[8]

[1] Michael C. Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2008/jan/14/00006/.

[2] Huffington Post, “Biden: Rudy’s Sentences Consist Of “A Noun, A Verb, And 9/11,” Mach 25, 2008, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/30/biden-rudys-sentences-con_n_70509.html.

[3] Maggie Haberman, “Rudy: GZ Mosque is a ‘desecration,’ ‘decent Muslims’ won’t be offended,” Politico, August 2, 2010, http://www.politico.com/blogs/maggiehaberman/0810/Rudy_Mosque_is_a_desecration_.html.

[4] David Taintor, “Giuliani: We Need a President Who Can Say ‘Bomb Iran,’” Talking Points Memo, February 24, 2012, http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/giuliani-we-need-a-president-who-can-say-bomb-iran.php.

[5] Michael C. Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2008/jan/14/00006/.

[6] FoxNews.com, “He’s Ready! Rudy Giuliani Talks with Sean Hannity,” February 6, 2007, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250497,00.html#ixzz1oJMpzLaY.

[7] Michael Shnayerson, “A Tale of Two Giulianis,” Vanity Fair, January 2008, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/giuliani200801.print.

[8] Michael Shnayerson, “A Tale of Two Giulianis,” Vanity Fair, January 2008, http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/giuliani200801.print.

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Sources

[1] Huffington Post, “Biden: Rudy’s Sentences Consist Of “A Noun, A Verb, And 9/11,” Mach 25, 2008,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/30/biden-rudys-sentences-con_n_70509.html.

[2] Michael C. Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008,http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2008/jan/14/00006/.

[3] Elias Groll, “Rudy Giuliani Loves America, Except When He’s Consulting for Qatar,” Foreign Policy, February 23, 2015,http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/23/rudy_giuliani_loves_america_except_when_hes_consulting_for_qatar/?wp_login_redirect=0.

[4] Jack Davis, “Giuliani Just Revealed EXACTLY What ISIS Is In 5 Words Obama Won’t Want You To Hear,” Western Journalism, November 19, 2015, http://www.westernjournalism.com/giuliani-just-revealed-exactly-what-isis-is-in-5-words-obama-wont-want-you-to-hear/.

[5] YourNewsWire, “Rudy Giuliani – U.S. Needs To Be A Police State After Paris Attacks,” January 10, 2015,http://yournewswire.com/rudy-giuliani-u-s-needs-to-be-a-police-state-after-paris-attacks/.

[6] David Taintor, “Giuliani: We Need a President Who Can Say ‘Bomb Iran,’” Talking Points Memo, February 24, 2012,http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/giuliani-we-need-a-president-who-can-say-bomb-iran.php.

[7] Rich Schapiro, “Rudy Giuliani knocks Iran nuclear deal during homeland security hearing at Ground Zero, Daily News, September 8, 2015, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rudy-giuliani-knocks-iran-nuclear-deal-ground-zero-article-1.2351837.

[8] Brian Montopoli, “Rudy Giuliani Denies Supporting Terrorist Organization,” CBS News, January 10, 2011,http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rudy-giuliani-denies-supporting-terrorist-organization/.

[9] Algemeiner, “Livid Guiliani Contrasts Obama With Netanyahu: ‘That’s a Man Who Fights for His People, Unlike Our President,” February 17, 2015, http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/02/17/livid-giuliani-contrasts-netanyahu-with-obama-thats-a-man-who-fights-for-his-people-unlike-our-president-video/.

[10] NBC New York, “Rudy Guiliani: There was ‘Some Celebrating’ in NYC after 9/11,” http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Rudy-Giuliani-Pockets-of-Cheering-Sept-11-911-Terrorist-Attacks-360021151.html.

[11] Michael C. Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008,http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2008/jan/14/00006/.

[12] Michael C. Desch, “Declaring Forever War,” The American Conservative, January 14, 2008,http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2008/jan/14/00006/.

[13] Haaretz, “Israeli panel: Giuliani is ‘best’ presidential candidate for Israel,” May 9, 2006, http://www.haaretz.com/news/israeli-panel-giuliani-is-best-presidential-candidate-for-israel-1.196603.

[14] FoxNews.com, “He’s Ready! Rudy Giuliani Talks with Sean Hannity,” February 6, 2007,http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250497,00.html#ixzz1oJMpzLaY.

[15] Marc Santora, “Giuliani Says Nation at War Requires Him,” New York Times, April 7, 2007,http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/07/us/politics/07rudy.html?_r=1.

[16] Fred Kaplain, “The Man Who Knows Too Little,” Slate, June 21, 2007,http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2007/06/the_man_who_knows_too_little.single.html.

[17] Michael Shnayerson, “A Tale of Two Giulianis,” Vanity Fair, January 2008,http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/giuliani200801.print.

[18] Michael Shnayerson, “A Tale of Two Giulianis,” Vanity Fair, January 2008,http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/giuliani200801.print.

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Giuliani, Rudy Résumé

Affiliations

  • 2008 GOP Presidential Candidate
  • Former Iraq Study Group Member

Government

  • New York City Mayor (1994-2001)
  • U.S. Attorney (1983-1989)
  • Associate Attorney General (1981-1983)

Business

  • Giuliani Partners: Founder
  • Greenberg Trairig: Global chair, cybersecurity and crisis management
  • Bracewell & Giuliani: Principal
  • Giuliani-Kerik: Former principal

Education

  • New York University, JD
  • Manhattan College, BA

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