Trump’s biggest (and most insane) surrogate Rudy Giuliani just got some bad news — his daughter, Caroline, is backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for President over Donald Trump, her father’s new BFF.
After posting on her Facebook that she has been “pro Hillary all along,” and making her profile picture Clinton’s iconic H, Giuliani confirmed that the account was indeed hers and that her father, Rudy, does know:
I love Hillary, I think she’s by far the most qualified candidate that we’ve had in a long while. My dad knows. I was for Barack in 2012. He knows and is fully comfortable with it and thinks I have a right to my opinion.
She did not comment on her father’s surrogacy or support for Trump. On her Facebook, after sharing an article titled, “I Wrote That I Despised Hillary Clinton. Today, I Publicly Want To Take That Back,” Giuliani wrote:
I’ve been pro-Hillary all along, but the people who are willing to open their minds & shift their perspectives are the ones with the power to save our country at this point, so I really respect this [the article]. #imwithher #vote
The younger Giuliani is not the only one who has drifted from her father this election — the New York Times reported that many of the former mayor’s most loyal former aides have rejected Trump’s candidacy, and have expressed concerns about Giuliani’s embrace of the Manhattan mogul and his more extreme views, specifically on immigration. Some of his former staffers, like his onetime press secretary Matt Higgins, have endorsed Clinton.
It seems like Rudy is really off his rocker when everyone around him, including his own family, are voting for the other candidate.
One has to wonder what Trump promised or paid Giuliani for his ardent (and downright insane) support.
Even in New York, ‘America’s Mayor’ was always a lot more like Trump than people realized. Now we’re seeing it on a national stage.
All summer long, Rudy Giuliani has acted as if he’s in a contest with Donald Trump to prove who the most manic 70-something from the outer boroughs reallyis. It started at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Giuliani raved and gesticulated about the podium like an Aztec priest offering up fresh beating hearts to Quetzalcoatl. He blamed President Obama for any and all racial division in the United States—“What happened to one America?!”—and Obama and Hillary Clinton for virtually every attack by Islamic terrorists over the past four years.
“There’s no next election. This is it! There’s no more time left to revive our great country,” he concluded apocalyptically, so overwrought that he seemed about to work himself into a stroke, barely able to get out or articulate words and simply shouting, “Greatness!” near the end of his speech.
On the campaign trail since then, Giuliani has led some of Trump’s most lunatic lines of attack, mocking Clinton for having failed a bar exam 41 years ago (and claiming it was covered up by the press); repeating the Trump camp accusations that the media are ignoring “several signs of illness by her” (“I don’t know if she goes home, goes to sleep. I think she sleeps”); insisting that Trump’s Milwaukee appeal for black people to abandon the Democratic Party was “the best speech that any Republican, at the least, has ever given” and reviving a monthslong feud with Beyoncé (Beyoncé!) by denouncing her for daring to pay tribute to Black Lives Matter at a concert. “I ran the largest and the best police department in the world, the New York City Police Department, and I saved more black lives than any of those people you saw on stage,” Giuliani bragged on Fox & Friends.
Anyone just tuning in must be wondering: What happened to “America’s mayor”? For millions of people outside New York, the lasting image of Giuliani is that of the man we all rooted for as he pushed his way through the streets of Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and told us afterward, with almost heartbreaking gentleness, that “the casualties will be more than any of us can bear.” Giuliani that day went on television not only to urge calm, but to remind New Yorkers not to take out their grief on Muslims—“We should act bravely. We should act in a tolerant way”—and just days later held an interfaith prayer service in Yankee Stadium that brought Islamic clerics together with Christians and Jews. This season in political hell, Giuliani has seemed so addled, so much the campaign tool, alternately vicious and clownish in defense of The Donald, that at one point he even stuffed his most famed accomplishment down the memory hole, insisting of the Bush presidency, “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States.”
It might seem like this summer has marked a sad break with that old Rudy, or proved him a sellout. But if you’ve followed Giuliani’s career, in fact it’s clear he swallowed the whole Trump persona many years ago—the race-baiting, the law-and-order pose, the incessant lying used to both steal credit and avoid responsibility. What we’re seeing this summer isn’t a crackup: It’s the inevitable, supernova explosion of what long ago became one of the most toxic and overrated political careers in our history. It’s tempting to count the 72-year-old Giuliani one more addition to the Island of Misfit Toys that Trump has gathered around him—another one of the political relics who, seeking to restore relevance, have found themselves denatured by the strange public power of Trump. But a better way to see it might be as a man seizing the star turn he never quite got—grabbing time in slow stretches of the campaign to stand on the national stage and play the role that was supposed to be his, exactly the way he thinks it should be played.
When all else fails in an interview, a flummoxed public figure can turn to Google, the omniscient fount of wisdom in our era — and, apparently, Rudy Giuliani’s sole source for information on Hillary Clinton’s health.
On Sunday morning, Giuliani urged everyone watching his interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream to “go online and put down Hillary Clinton illness and take a look at the videos for yourself.”
He could have simply told us to look at the note from Clinton’s doctor, released a year ago, which offers a detailed account of her medical history. Given the questionable veracity of his own candidate’s doctor’s note, perhaps Giuliani thought it better not to draw attention to either document: Claims from Dr. Harold Bornstein last December that Trump’s tests returned “only positive results,” and that his health is “astonishingly excellent,” sound like North Korean Mad Libs in light of wild (and partisan) bloviating about Clinton’s… pillows.
This is hardly the first baseless conspiracy theory to bubble into official Trump Campaign rhetoric. And while Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart executive and current Trump campaign “CEO,” may be encouraging surrogates to turn up their attacks, the real blame lies with Trump confidant and “dirty trickster” Roger Stone.
Stone — who has been banned from appearing on CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere after decades of personal attacks on political opponents — is behind much of the Trump’s campaign’s more ambitious lies. He continues to assert that top Clinton aide Huma Abedin is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and just recently alleged that she married former congressman Anthony Weiner because “marrying a Jewish fellow, that’s pretty good cover if you ask me.”
Stone popularized an obscure conspiracy article alleging that Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father of the late Army Captain Humayun Khan, was in cahoots with extremists because he is an immigration attorney. Stone also planted the first seed of a favorite Trump insinuation of late, namely that the election will be “rigged” against him.
And, yes, Stone has been central in pushing the narrative that Hillary Clinton isn’t healthy enough to be president:
Donald Trump wasn’t bluffing when proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States: This morning, he outlined the mechanism by which he would indiscriminately ban 1.6 billion people from entering the country.
While appearing in one of his countless phone interviews withFox & Friends, Trump floated former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani as a potential head of the “commission” he intends to create to look into, as he mentions earlier in the conversation, “radical Islamic terrorism,” and the need for “a temporary ban” on Muslims entering the United States.
“I’m thinking about setting up a commission perhaps headed by Rudy Giuliani to take a very serious look at this problem. But this is a worldwide problem, and we have to be smart,” he said.
Trump has been fanning the flames of Islamophobia ever since he announced his intention to ban Muslims from entering the country until America’s security can be guaranteed. Creating a commission to address the need for — and logistics of — such a ban would be the first concrete step towards its potential enforcement, should Trump win in November.
Mentioning Giuliani is no mistake. He earned his Islamophobia credentials long before Trump ever made his remarks. Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Guiliani got on Fox & Friends to paint a picture of the existential conflict between Islam and the Western world.
“Whether the president wants to recognize it or not, they are at war with us. It is worldwide. We are at risk all over the world,” he said. He further boasted that when he was a U.S. Attorney, “I surveilled mosques,” and criticized current New York City mayor Bill de Blasio for “taking the police out of the mosques in New York.”
Representatives of Mr. Giuliani said he had no comment on Trump’s remarks. But Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications at Council on American-Islamic Relations, doubted Giuliani would get involved in such a commission.
“Is this a real thing?,” he asked. “I can’t see him accepting such a position. He’s going to be on a panel to decide which Muslims get into America, that’s not exactly a position that’s gonna benefit him in any way.”
In a briefing on Thursday, a U.S. Central Command official detailed how and when up to 25,000 Iraqi troops plan to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, from Islamic State control, starting in April or May. Twelve brigades will be involved, the official said: five that will lead the attack, three acting as backup, three Kurdish peshmerga brigades to keep ISIS boxed in, and a force of former Mosul police and other leaders tasked with keeping control of the city once ISIS is pushed out. It is unusual for military officials to detail plans for an attack beforehand.
A blast of Arctic air brought East Coast temperatures to record lows on Thursday, with still colder weather expected in some areas on Friday. In parts of the upper Midwest, Thursday temperatures plunged to minus 35 early Thursday. Sub-zero temperatures hit a broad area stretching from North Dakota south to Kentucky and east to New York. Chicago hit a record low for Feb. 19 at eight degrees below zero. All-time February lows are forecast from Ohio to Virginia early Friday.
Walmart pledged Thursday to raise the wages of a half million U.S. employees, boosting them to at least $9 an hour this year, and to $10 an hour by next February. Economists said the move by the giant retailer could signal that wage growth is finally picking up six years into the recovery from the Great Recession. The raises will affect about 500,000 of the company’s 1.4 million U.S. workers at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.
Venezuelan intelligence police on Thursday arrested Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an outspoken critic of President Nicolas Maduro and his handling of the economy. In a televised statement, Maduro said Ledezma was detained on the public prosecutor’s orders for instigating a coup. “Enough already of vampires conspiring against the peace,” he said. Maduro also claimed the U.S. was attempting to destabilize his government, allegations the U.S. State Department called “baseless and false.”
Germany rejected Greece’s proposal to extend its European bailout package for six months, saying Thursday that the new Greek government’s proposal was “not a substantial solution” because it did not stick to the austerity measures required under the original loan terms. Some analysts interpreted the rejection as a sign that Greece and its new anti-austerity government were destined to exit the eurozone. A senior Greek official said, however, that the two sides were near a deal heading into a Friday meeting.
The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday halted gay marriages after a lesbian couple became the first same-sex partners to wed in the state. The Texas high court stayed two court rulings calling the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared the marriage of the couple — Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant — to be “void” after the Supreme Court decision. A county clerk in Austin had issued Goodfriend and Bryant a license because one had “severe and immediate health concerns.”
Mother Jones published an article Thursday accusing Fox News star Bill O’Reilly of claiming he was in the Falkland Islands during Argentina’s 1982 war with Britain, even though no U.S. reporters are believed to have made it to the islands. O’Reilly, who worked for CBS at the time, called the magazine’s assertion that he had a “Brian Williams problem” “a piece of garbage,” saying he never said he was in the islands. “I was in Buenos Aires,” O’Reilly said. “In Buenos Aires we were in a combat situation after the Argentines surrendered.”
Las Vegas police on Thursday arrested a 19-year-old man, Erich Nowsch, on suspicion of killing a Las Vegas woman, Tammy Meyers, after a road rage incident. Meyers was giving her 15-year-old daughter a driving lesson when the girl honked the horn at a car speeding by. The driver of the other vehicle stopped in front of the women and threatened them. Nowsch lives a block away from the Meyers’ house. Tammy Meyers’ husband said she knew Nowsch, and had given money and mentored him.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) defended Thursday remarks he made about President Obama’s patriotism at a fundraiser Wednesdaynight for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). During the event, he said, “I do not believe that the president loves America.” Giuliani told The New York Timeson Thursday that he was not being prejudiced when he made the statement. “Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” he said. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
Parks and Recreation co-executive producer Harris Wittels was found deadThursday at his Los Angeles home. He was 30. Police said they suspected a drug overdose, although the coroner’s office will have to perform an autopsy to confirm it. Amy Poehler, star of the NBC sitcom, mourned Wittels as a “dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.” Wittels also co-wrote the series and occasionally appeared as an animal control staffer. The show’s final season concludes Feb. 24.
Consider George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, and Ann Coulter. What do they all have in common, besides the fact they are rabid conservatives who have contributed nothing positive to our country? They all became more prominent, and held higher power and prestige after the September 11, 2001 attacks. While America picked up the pieces of that terrible day, they rose above it all to become the mitochondria of the right.
1. George W. Bush’s popularity soared to 90%, setting the stage for two wars and a re-election, which was centered around combating global terrorism to prevent “another 9/11.”
2. Dick Cheney launched a war on morality and international law with the use of torture, all in the name of preventing another 9/11. Now our national standing is forever stained.
3. Rudy Giuliani “united” New York City after 9/11, catapulting him into the national spotlight as a conservative hero against terrorism. Now, Giuliani has rendered himself irrelevant with his race-baiting and paranoia. Because of his fame from 9/11, we will be stuck with him until the day he dies.
4. Ann Coulter became internationally “relevant” with her “invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity” comments regarding Muslims. She also took it upon herself to make fun of the 9/11 widows who she thinks are “enjoying their husband’s deaths so much.” Like Giuliani, she has rendered herself irrelevant.
All of these Republicans rose in the ranks of national prominence because of 9/11. Their careers benefited because they kept a tight grip on America with constant fear-mongering and rising nationalism. In their mantra, if you dissented against them, you were a traitor and a terrorist sympathizer. They kept getting elected and they kept getting their spots on TV because people were frightened. The American people wanted to be reassured that 9/11 would never happen again, and the ones who were the best at post-9/11 propaganda were the Republicans.
Because of 9/11, Republicans were back in business, and for a long time. As the United States naturally becomes more progressive with a younger population and an influx of forward-thinking immigrants, the GOP would virtually be obsolete if it wasn’t for that terrible September day.
Speaking of immigrants, you can thank post-9/11 Republicans for our flawed and stagnated immigration system. Because of their propaganda surrounding foreigners, we needed to put more money in the border, send everyone back, and close our borders because of “terrorism.” Yes, the two middle aged parents with their three small children fleeing Mexico are in the same boat as ISIS and the cartels, according to the GOP. If they were brown, they weren’t welcome. If you’re not white, you might as well be a terrorist. This rise in latent racist nationalism continues today, even as President Obama uses his executive authority to fix our broken immigration system. It’s no wonder why so many conservative Americans are hostile to anyone foreign.
The events also beautifully lined the pockets of the GOP (and almost bankrupted the country) with their two wars to “fight” terrorism, which greatly benefited their political machine. And why wouldn’t you be for the war? If you weren’t for “getting the terrorists,” you supported 9/11. The Republicans actually had us convinced there for awhile. According to Gallup Polling, between March 2003 to July 2005, the majority of Americans supported sending our troops to Iraq. After that, America quickly grew war weary.
But now here we are, 14 years after those terrible attacks and the GOP thinks they’re making a comeback. Cheney and Giuliani are appearing on almost every Sunday show, spewing their “we gotta’ get the terrorists” talking points. People are still listening to them, even though they have been conclusively proven wrong.
September 11, 2001 was the worst day for our nation. But it was the best day for the Republican Party. It wasn’t the attack itself that ruined us. It was the response, and the fear, in the long run, that ruined us.
Blaming the murder of two NYPD officers on President Obama isn’t just stupid — it’s delegitimizing and obscene
Quite appropriately, considering how terrible much of the news this year has been, it looks like the last big story of 2014 will be the horrifying murder of two NYPD officers this weekend by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, an unhappy and mentally unstable 28-year-old man who had a history of trouble with the law and a propensity for violence. Claiming on social media beforehand that he was doing it in the name of avenging Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Brinsley approached a squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday and pitilessly killed the two unsuspecting officers within before killing himself after a brief attempt to escape. Like Shaneka Thompson, the Air Force reservist and former girlfriend he’d shot in the stomach earlier that day (who is in critical condition but expected to recover), neither Officer Wenjian Liu nor Officer Rafael Ramos was white.
The worst thing about this terrible event is, by far, the fear and pain that has been visited on those who care for Thompson, Ramos and Liu. On a human level, that’s what most matters. But on the level of politics — which occasionally intersects with that of humanity, but far less often than you’d hope — a terrible development was the response. As my colleague Joan Walsh explained already, a truly surprising and disappointing number of high-profile conservatives and Republicans didn’t even wait until the public knew Brinsley’s name before they began using his atrocity for their own, tangentially related purposes. New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch, for example, almost immediately integrated the attack into his ongoing campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio. Former Gov. George Pataki, meanwhile, used it to bash de Blasio and test the waters for the latest iteration of his quadrennially threatened (and quadrennially ignored) potential White House run.
Yet even though blaming New York’s mayor for Brinsley’s actions is irrational (and so opportunistic that it borders on the obscene), even more shocking, even more inexcusable, and even more disturbing were the comments from ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The failed presidential candidate and well-compensated consultant to Serbian nationalists trained his fire not so much at Mayor de Blasio as President Obama, whom he charged with fostering an atmosphere that made actions like Brinsley’s seem OK. “We’ve had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police,” Giuliani said on Fox News Sunday morning. “The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged,” he continued. Even the peaceful protests, he said, “lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist.” Giuliani all but laid the slain officers’ caskets at the president’s feet.
While it should not surprise us that a man who once, in complete earnestness, said “[f]reedom is about authority” thinks all forms of organized dissent against law enforcement are illegitimate, we should be shaken and concerned by the complete lack of pushback from other elite Republicans that Giuliani’s comments received. Despite the fact that nothing — absolutely, positively nothing — the president said in response to the turmoil in Ferguson or the outrage in Staten Island could be reasonably construed as even tacitly endorsing violence, no high-profile GOPer even tried to scold “America’s mayor” for his brazen claims. In spite of the fact that Giuliani’s comments could only make sense if you accepted a racialized and erroneous subtext (black protesters and president vs. white police), no Republican publicly disagreed. And when Erick Erickson, predictably, brought Giuliani’s insinuation to the surface, saying Obama “does not like the United States,” the silence remained.
When we think of the ways in which Obama’s most virulent enemies have sought to delegitimize him, to depict him not only as wrong on various issues as well as lacking in character but as fundamentally deceitful and un-American, we conjure up images of the birthers. We think of claims that he’s actually from Kenya and/or Indonesia, that he’s lying about his Christianity and/or as his name. But even though the Democrats, the mainstream media and elements of the Republican establishment have managed to push the birthers to the fringes of the GOP, there’s little reason to think Giuliani, Erickson and others who make arguments like theirs will be ostracized from polite society. That’s a great injustice — because what they’re doing now and what the birthers do is, fundamentally, the same.
Granted, alleging President Obama is on a decades-long mission, which began at the time of his birth, to destroy the United States from within is much more superficially outlandish than alleging that he encourages the murder of police. But both claims, at their essence, depict the president as alien from the rest of American society, as an interloper with nefarious designs. For the birthers, Obama is a secret Muslim or Marxist or lizard (or a combination of all three) who wants to weaken the U.S. in order to implement some shadowy scheme. And for Giuliani and Erickson, he’s a secret radical, a crypto-black nationalist, the New Black Panther Party’s best friend in D.C. He’s not a milquetoast liberal technocrat reformer, but an extremist in camouflage, inciting a race war and the murder of police.
These wild, bigoted fever dreams are dangerous accusations for anyone to excuse or ignore, no matter the target. But they’re especially unacceptable when the accused is the first African-American president of the United States. This country has a long, ugly history of treating people of color — but especially black people — as somehow less than fully American. That’s part of what made Obama’s ascension to the White House so important and extraordinary. The prospect of the country’s first black president being repeatedly accused by his political opponents of stoking a race war and sowing disorder is therefore a scary one; and if it came to pass, it would be a clear step back from where we were as recently as 2008. And this is why it’s imperative that all the key players in the political elite push these sentiments back underground, as they (mostly) did with the birthers.
If they’re serious about wanting to strive for national unity and reconciliation on race in America, Republicans and conservatives need to distance themselves from Erickson and Giuliani’s comments — ASAP.
The horrifying shooting of two police officers in Brooklyn on Saturday has brought out the worst in some people. But it also gives us an opportunity to consider how we talk about the way we talk and whether we might do it in a more enlightening fashion. We regularly argue over not just the substance of issues but the way those issues are being discussed; both liberals and conservatives are convinced that their side presents its arguments in reasonable and logical ways, while the other side is prone to inflammatory, dishonest and demagogic rhetoric. When something like this shooting happens, the accusation that it occurred because of the words someone else spoke is almost inevitable. But it’s also almost always wrong.
Over the weekend, the conclusion from some on the right was immediate: The killing of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos could be laid at the feet of national leaders who have been critical of police practices, including President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The venom directed at de Blasio from police union leaders was particularly vivid. “There’s blood on many hands tonight,” said Patrick Lynch, the head of the New York police union. “Those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn’t be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.” Here’s a tweet from former New York governor George Pataki:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed to want to say that public officials were not responsible for the murders, but yeah, they’re kind of responsible: “the tone they’re setting around the rhetoric regarding the cops incites crazy people, but I blame the shooter.” And then there’s Rudy Giuliani, who was much more explicit: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” he said in an appearance on Fox News.
It’s hard to find words to describe what a despicable lie this is. But here’s the truth: Every single time Barack Obama has spoken about these issues, he has stressed that violence of any kind, even when people are protesting over legitimate grievances, is utterly wrong and unacceptable. He makes sure, in all his public statements, to include praise of police officers. If he had ever said anything like “everybody should hate the police,” it would have been rather dramatic, to say the least. But he never said anything even remotely resembling that. For instance, here’s what Obama said after the grand jury’s decision was announced in the Ferguson case:
“I also appeal to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur. Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law. As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence – distinguish them from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.”
Wow, that is some horrifying anti-cop rhetoric. And what about de Blasio? Here’s part of the explanation for why some in the NYPD seem to hate him so much:
There have been a number flash points between de Blasio and police, including one earlier this month, when the mayor spoke to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News about his fears for his biracial son.
“It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country,” de Blasio said. “And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cellphone, because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”
I get that police officers might not like to hear that, but is there a single sane human being who can say it’s bad advice to give to a black teenager? Or that anyone could take it as encouragement to commit murder?
It’s perfectly fine to call people out on their rhetoric. Everyone fortunate enough to have a prominent voice in public debate should be accountable for the things he or she says. But when someone tosses off the accusation that an act of violence committed by one deranged person was a consequence of words someone else spoke, he or she should immediately be met with a couple of questions, the most important of which is: What,exactly, are you referring to?
So when Rudy Giuliani accuses Barack Obama of saying “everybody should hate the police,” the response should be, “Mr. Giuliani, can you tell us what quote you’re referring to? When did President Obama actually say ‘everybody should hate the police’?” And when Giuliani has no answer, then he ought to be asked whether he’d like to retract the accusation. When Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) says, “it’s really time for our national leaders, the president, it’s time for the mayor of New York, and really for many in the media to stop the cop bashing, to stop this anti-police rhetoric,” he should be asked what exactly the president said that constitutes “cop-bashing.”
To be clear, this isn’t about shutting down anyone’s right to say what they want, even to toss off unsupported accusations. People regularly react to criticism of the things they say with cries of “censorship,” as though the First Amendment not only gives you a right to speak but also removes anyone else’s right to tell you that you’re being a jerk. But if you’re going to say that someone else’s words led to violence, you’d better have a case to make, and that case has to include the specific words that supposedly pushed the violent person over the edge.
Liberals like me certainly spend our fair share of time examining and criticizing the rhetoric of conservative politicians. But when any of us do it, we should follow a simple rule: The more serious the accusation you’re making, the more responsibility you have to support it with clear, specific evidence. If we all followed that rule, we could have a debate about events like this shooting that actually brought some greater understanding.
Or we could just see how angry we could make people, and whether we could use the tragedy to stir up hatred at our political opponents.
O’Brien asked Giuliani if Dowd had a point. “So we’re gonna blame this on Bush too?” Giuliani said.
“You gotta stop putting words in my mouth, sir,” O’Brien interjected. After some back-and-forth, she continued, “Every time I ask you a question, you like to push back as if somehow the question being posed to you is unfair. It’s not. I’m a journalist, you said some things. I’m trying to get some accurate responses from you. You are welcome to answer.”
Giuliani said that Dowd’s response seemed like an attempt to blame Bush for the Benghazi attack. He also argued that Obama should have disclosed any knowledge about previous attacks on the consulate and how the U.S. reacted.
“That’s not what Matthew Dowd is saying,” O’Brien objected.
“But it doesn’t take a long time for the president of the United States to tell us whether or not he was aware that this consulate was attacked twice before and if he was aware what did he do to protect the consulate?” Giuliani countered.
“But the point and my question is, does Matthew Dowd have a point?” she said.
While challenging former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani during an interview Monday morning, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien got Giuliani to admit to framing discussion of the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate for political gain.
Giuliani, a surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accused President Barack Obama’s administration of covering up the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“Calling something a cover up kind of takes it a step further, don’t you think?” O’Brien asked.
Giuliani’s remarks are part of a recent pattern of cover-up accusations from him; Think Progress reported that Giuliani also urged Romney to exploit the situation in a separate interview on Fox News Monday.
“The White House has fumbled this — whether it’s a deliberate cover-up or they’re making it look like a cover-up they have fumbled the ball four or five times here,” Giuliani told O’Brien and her panel. “Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give them as you do, all the benefit of the doubt.”
Giuliani also accused O’Brien of bias toward Obama, asking aloud, “Am I debating with the president’s campaign?” when she challenged his version of the government’s handling of the assault, which, he said, had the president directly linking the attack to unrest over the anti-Islam short film “Innocence of Muslims.”
“He did not specifically say, ‘This was due to a movie,’” O’Brien said, before motioning backstage. “Miguel, why don’t you pull all these transcripts for me? We have them all in the back room, we can just pull them out.”
The U.S. State Department has conceded that some of the people involved in the fatal attack “were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to Al-Qaeda.” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said last week she has set up a review board to determine whether the facility was properly secured.
Sunday, Steven’s father, Jan, denounced the use of the ambassador’s death as a political talking point.