Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has appeared numerous times on cable news to discuss the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. He has chastised President Obama's response, said that he would “pardon” CIA staff who conducted illegal torture methods in interrogation, and agreed with Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) call to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” But Giuliani failed on 9/11 communications, cleanup and treatment of firefighters when he was mayor; the Muslim surveillance program he takes credit for was ineffective; and he has a history of making anti-Muslim statements.
ISIS Claims Responsibility For Brussels Terror Attacks
Multiple Attacks In Brussels Left Dozens Dead, Over 100 Wounded. On March 22, terrorists attacked two locations in Brussels, Belgium,setting off bombs atthe city's airport and the Maelbeek metro station. The attacks came days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the man allegedly responsible for the Paris terror attacks last November:
A Belgian government representative told CNN that 10 people were killed and 100 wounded at Brussels' international airport. At least 20 people died and 130 were wounded at the Maelbeek metro station, officials said.
Authorities in Belgium have been trying to crack down on terror threats for months as they raided homes in the area in search of suspects. Tuesday's violence came just days after investigators closed in on Europe's most wanted man, Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, who was hiding out in a Brussels suburb.
The “working assumption” is that the attackers came from the network behind November's massacres in Paris, which left 130 dead, Belgian security sources said, while cautioning it is very early in the latest investigation. ISIS also claimed responsibility for those attacks. [CNN.com, 3/23/16]
Networks Brought Former NYC Mayor On Multiple Shows To Criticize U.S. Response to Belgium Attacks
Giuliani: “It's Outrageous That The President Of The United States Is Not In The Situation Room Right Now.” On a March 22 appearance on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani chastised the president for “sitting with a dictator, watching a baseball game, while innocent people are being killed in a war.” Giuliani continued that “Bush took 9/11 really seriously” and that “we didn't get a terror incident from then on” :
RUDY GIULIANI: But just to get relevant to what is going on right now, it's outrageous that the president of the United States is not in the situation room right now, planning to destroy ISIS.
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): What do you think the argument is, it's better that he's not? I talked to a Romney supporter who is saying, “You know, if he came rushing back, he would look frantic, and he's going about his business like he tells people.”
GIULIANI: That would be like Franklin Roosevelt remaining at Warm Springs when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
CAVUTO: But that was an attack on us, you know what I'm saying?
GIULIANI: This is an attack on one of our allies. We belong to NATO.
GIULIANI: And what's he doing? He's sitting with a dictator --
CAVUTO: Watching a baseball game.
GIULIANI: He's sitting with a dictator, watching a baseball game, while innocent people are being killed in a war.
CAVUTO: He doesn't equate it that way. You know what, and he said this before that --
GIULIANI: Well then he should give the job to somebody else.
CAVUTO: The terror incidents -- you don't obviously agree with that. But if you were there now and looking at what you have to do, what do you do?
GIULIANI: Well so far, his strategy hasn't been working, right? Bush took 9/11 really seriously. He hit them back like hell, right? And we didn't get a terroristincident from then on. He has been in office now for eight years and we've had four, five, six, seven? I mean, obviously he is not scaring them. They don't -- there is no worry about Barack Obama doing anything. He is a member --
GIULIANI: But if the president of the United States, who is the leader of the free world, or used to be the leader of the free world, took charge, we would have a plan. The plan should be, and I heard General Keane earlier, no plan. They should be in the situation room right now, and here is what the plan should be. What do we have to do to destroy ISIS? No time limit. None of this ridiculously insane, I think Biden invented time limits, time limits on wars. Imagine if we fought the Civil War with a time limit. We would have quit after three years, and we'd be a divided country. So here is the plan. Destroy ISIS. You're gone. You should give a speech tonight. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/22/16]
Giuliani: As President, I'd Pardon CIA Members Who Used Torture Methods In Interrogation. On his second March 22 appearance on Fox News, Giuliani said that as president, he “would say [to CIA officers], 'In four hours, you get me the information. I don't care what you have to do,'” and pardon them afterward:
RUDY GIULIANI: When I ran for president in 2008, I was asked a question, if there was an attack like this, what would I do? And I said, what I would do is I would call in the head of the CIA and I'd have 10 pardons on my desk. And I would say, “In four hours,you get me the information. I don't care what you have to do.”
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): And then you'll pardon them.
GIULIANI: And I'll pardon them. You just get me the information, and I will save innocent lives. I'm sorry, I will not let a terrorist murderer hold this information and not save innocent lives. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/22/16]
Giuliani: Obama Attending A Baseball Game After Terrorist Attack “Embarrassed Me.” On the March 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Giuliani criticized President Obama's response to the terrorist attacks in Belgium, saying Obama “embarrassed” Giuliani by attending a baseball game in Cuba and doing the wave:
RUDY GIULIANI: For [Hillary Clinton] to say that, “They stood with us the day after 9/11, and we should stand with them.” Well, her president was sitting at a baseball game, doing the wave and laughing, instead of trying to rally the West against ISIS on the day this killing took place. What he did yesterday embarrassed me as an American. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/23/16]
Giuliani: If The President “Has A Plan For Defeating ISIS,” “Its Failing.” On the March 23 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Giuliani attacked Obama's reaction to the Brussels attack, saying the president was “communicating from a communist country” and asking, “How absurd is that?” Moreover, Giuliani said the president's strategy to combat ISIS “isn't working” and that “if he can't figure out that a strategy is not working, we need somebody else to do that job” :
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): Ok, Rudy Giuliani, I saw you reacting to the president's -
RUDY GIULIANI: Yeah, I feel very bad about that. I mean, he's my president too and, the reality is, to analogize himself to David Ortiz? David Ortiz is a designated hitter. He's the president of the United States. And he's comparing himself to a designated hitter and the wonderful speech that he gave? This man's job is to be the leader of the free world, which means the leader of NATO. And here we have an attack, which the prime minister of France is willing to call a war -- an Islamic terrorist war against us. Quote. He's willing to describe it that way. Words that will never come out of the president's mouth. War against a NATO ally is war against us. And this man is communicating -- if he had to communicate at all, he's communicating from a communist country. I mean, how absurd is that?
MIKE BARNICLE: Well, what difference would it have made yesterday had he not gone to that ballgame?
GIULIANI: The difference it would have made is it would have made people feel that he is the leader. That he's in charge. Here's what I would have done, immediately left, gotten the national security staff together and I'd say, “When I wake up tomorrow morning I want a complete plan on how we destroy ISIS, no BS.”
BARNICLE: You don't think he has that?
GIULIANI: If he does, it's failing. He better get a new one. How many attacks have we had in the last year? If he has a plan for defeating ISIS, let's go get another plan to defeat ISIS. Because ISIS so far has conducted more attacks in the last seven or eight months, nine months, including in the United States.
BARNICLE: But they've had over 20,000 sorties, bombing raids over Syria.
GIULIANI: Maybe they're not working. Maybe they're not working. Maybe the strategy, as the admiral pointed out, isn't working. If he can't -- if he can't figure out that a strategy is not working, we need somebody else to do that job. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 3/23/16]
Giuliani: Ted Cruz Is “Right” To Suggest Patrolling “Some” Muslim Neighborhoods. On the March 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Giuliani was asked to respond to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) call to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in an effort to fight terrorism. Giuliani responded that he “started that policy in 1994” and that Cruz is “right” to suggest patrolling “some” Muslim neighborhoods to, allegedly, combat radicalization:
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): In the wake of the Brussels attack, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump both agree that maybe there should be some patrolling of Muslim areas in the United States. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani used to survey and surveil the mosques here. So does it work?
RUDY GIULIANI: Well sure, I started that policy in 1994, because the bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center was planned in a mosque in New Jersey.
GIULIANI: The sheik was preaching and ifyouworked your way in and you got into a couple of the private meetings, you pick up plenty of information. That's for example how theblind sheik was prosecuted and put in jail for 100 years. That's how they thwarted a plan in the 1990's to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. The HollandTunnel.
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): What do you say to Bill Bratton?
GIULIANI: Why do you think my police commissioner at the time, first thing he did on September 11 was close down the bridges and tunnels to New Jersey? You know why he did that?
AINSLEY EARHARDT (HOST): Why?
GIULIANI: Because of the information we were getting from the mosques in New Jersey. He was afraid that that was going to unleash a group of cells in New Jersey, come into New York and do a bunch of small bombings.
DOOCY: What about Ted Cruz saying that we be should be patrolling certain Muslim neighborhoods in the United States? That's what he's gotten a lot of push back on.
GIULIANI: Put the word some in and you're right. They shouldn't patrol every Muslim neighborhood. Most of them, like in New York City, most of the Muslim neighborhoods are extremely safe, decent neighborhoods. We do not have a radicalized Muslim population particularly in New York City. Certain parts of New Jersey there's a radicalized Muslim population and every once in a while in New York. So you've got to keep the option open of surveilling mosques. What Catholic priest, what Jewish rabbi, what Protestant minister would care if I had a police officer -- they'd like it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/24/16]
But As NYC Mayor, Giuliani Failed On 9/11 Communications, Cleanup And Treatment of Firefighters
Giuliani Failed To Set Up A Unified Command Post For New York Fire And Police Departments, Which Hampered Communication Between Them. On September 11, 2002, The New York Times reported that “The Police and Fire Departments barely spoke on 9/11. They set up separate command posts.” Moreover, the Times reported that early on during the crisis, “the Office of Emergency Management had to be evacuated. It had been placed in the trade center complex by Mr. Giuliani, against advice that it was unwise to put an emergency center in a terrorist target” :
Of course the country had to understand what went wrong. One of the largest structures ever built had failed, at a terrible cost in lives. When warned of danger, those in charge had shrugged. Many died because the rescue effort was plagued by communication breakdowns, a lack of coordination, failure to prepare.
As the towers were burning, Randy Mastro, a lawyer who served as deputy mayor under Mr. Giuliani, was asked on CNN if the city had changed its approach since 1993. Indeed it had, he said.
In 1993, Mr. Mastro said, “There was no coordinated city response. There was no Mayor's Office of Emergency Management. Rudy Giuliani established that. It's been one of the hallmarks of his tenure. And unfortunately, there are circumstances like this one where that coordinated effort has to come into play and is coming into play now.”
The belief in the coordinated public safety efforts of the Giuliani administration turned out to be much like the belief in the unsinkability of the Titanic. Early in the crisis, the Office of Emergency Management had to be evacuated. It had been placed in the trade center complex by Mr. Giuliani, against advice that it was unwise to put an emergency center in a terrorist target. The Police and Fire Departments barely spoke on 9/11. They set up separate command posts. The firefighters stayed on the ground, 900 feet below fires that the police in helicopters were seeing up close. The two departments had not practiced helicopter operations for at least a year before the attack. [The New York Times, 9/11/02; Media Matters, 3/2/07]
Giuliani's Administration Showed A Pattern Of Security-Related Cronyism. According to an August 22, 2006 article in The Village Voice, authors Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins documented how Giuliani's cronyism and “managerial dysfunction” harmed the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Barrett and Collins explain that NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, was “a prime example of this managerial dysfunction all morning” during the 9/11 attacks because in the 102 minutes between the first impact of a plane into the World Trade Center and the collapse of the North Tower, “Kerik became Giuliani's bodyguard, just as he had been in the 1993 mayoral campaign,” rather than leading the police's efforts. [The Village Voice, 8/22/06, Media Matters, 2/2/07]
Giuliani Mishandled The Cleanup Effort At Ground Zero, Exacerbated The Risk To Workers' Lives And Health. Criticism of Giuliani's handling of the cleanup effort at Ground Zero began shortly after the 9/11 attacks. In a February 2002 preliminary assessment of the response to the attacks, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claimed, “It appears at this point as if the bulk of these [environmental health] problems resulted from shortcomings by the Giuliani administration.” The NRDC also affirmed that Giuliani's Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Joel Miele “did not fully exercise [his] authority” to respond to “emergencies caused by releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances,” and that “when it came to communicating about environmental health matters, city, state and federal efforts fell short of the mark.” [Natural Resources Defense Council, The Environmental Impacts Of The World Trade Center Attack, February 2002; Media Matters, 3/6/07]
International Association Of Fire Fighters Castigated Giuliani's “Egregious Treatment Of Our 343 Fallen On 9/11.” In a March 9, 2007, open letter from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), IAFF president Harold Schaitberger excoriated “Giuliani's egregious treatment of our 343 fallen on 9/11, their families and our members following that horrific day.” The letter also took issue with Giuliani's “scoop-and-dump” policy, saying: “Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill.” The letter later added: “What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members and leaders to arrest” (emphasis original):
On March 14, 2007, the IAFF will host the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle. No other union - and very few organizations - has the credibility and respect to attract top-tier candidates from both political parties. The lineup of speakers who have agreed to participate in our Forum is truly a testament to our great union and the reputation we have built as a powerful political force and a coveted endorsement.
The IAFF made a decision early on to invite all major candidates from both political parties, even those with whom we have substantial disagreement on policy issues.
However, beginning last November, I had discussions with our New York City affiliate presidents of Locals 94 and 854 about whether to invite former Mayor Rudy Giuliani based on his egregious treatment of our 343 fallen on 9/11, their families and our members following that horrific day.
In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search, Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a “scoop-and-dump” operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero in lieu of the more time-consuming, but respectful, process of carefully removing debris in hope of uncovering more remains.
Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like so much garbage and deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill.
What Giuliani showed is a disgraceful lack of respect for the fallen and those brothers still searching for them. He exposed our members and leaders to arrest. He valued the money and gold and wanted the site cleared before he left office at the end of 2001 more than he valued the lives and memories of those lost.
Surveillance Program Giuliani Takes Credit For Was Ineffective
The Surveillance Program Giuliani Claimed He “Started ... In 1994” Was Completely Ineffective. In a March 23 fact check of Ted Cruz's suggestion that the United States begin surveilling mosques -- a policy Giuliani claimed he initiated in 1994 -- Washington Post fact-checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee noted that such programs have “actually fractured the police department's relationship with many in the American Muslim community” in the past. Moreover, Cruz's characterization of why the New York City Police Department (NYPD) dropped the program “is an inaccurate description.” In fact, “by the time that de Blasio and Bratton shuttered it, it was largely inactive. And over its six years, none of the information collected by the Demographics Unit led to a single case.” The Post gave Cruz's claims about the merits of the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program “Four Pinocchios,” a distinction the paper reserves for “whoppers” of misinformation:
In response to the attacks, Cruz called on police in the United States to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods. When his comment drew criticism, specifically from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, his campaign pointed to the New York Police Department's practice after 9/11 of spying on Muslim communities for potential terrorist activities. Then the campaign criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for shuttering the surveillance program, saying he “succumbed to unfounded criticisms” and “eliminated the efforts” of NYPD to work with Muslim communities.
How accurate is this characterization?
There are two elements to this claim. First is that de Blasio ended the program because he “succumbed to unfounded criticisms.” There was criticism, and whether it was “unfounded” may be a matter of opinion. But by the time that de Blasio and Bratton shuttered it, it was largely inactive. And over its six years, none of the information collected by the Demographics Unit led to a single case. The Cruz campaign's characterization makes it seem as though de Blasio disbanded an active program because of the criticism, but that is an inaccurate description.
The second part is that de Blasio's decision “eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with” Muslim communities. But this program actually fractured the police department's relationship with many in the American Muslim community in New York, and a group of Muslims sued the department over it. On both fronts, this characterization is false, and earns Four Pinocchios. [The Washington Post, 3/23/16]
Giuliani Has A History Of Making Anti-Muslim Comments
Giuliani: Muslims Need A “Reformation.” On the January 7 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Giuliani stated that Muslims needs an “intellectual debate” because radical Muslims “have a certain interpretation of the Quran and Hadith, which scholars, their scholars, can justify.” Giuliani concluded that a “counter-reformation, or a reformation, wouldn't be bad” :
GIULIANI: OK, this is like the Mafia. Most Italian-Americans had nothing to do with the Mafia. But there was a Mafia, and it was big, and it was powerful, and it killed hundreds of people.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (HOST): But they weren't called Italian-Americans.
GIULIANI: Oh they sure were.
BRZEZINSKI: No, I'm saying they were called the Mafia.
GIULIANI: That's an Italian word.
BRZEZINSKI: No, but I think there's a problem with Muslims in terms of some --
GIULIANI: No, the analogy would be --
BRZEZINSKI: -- especially some political candidates, who are lumping them all together.
GIULIANI: Candidates aren't lumping them together. They're lumping themselves together. They're organizing under the principle of Islam. They are organized because they have a certain interpretation of the Quran and Hadith, which scholars, their scholars, can justify. Do they constitute the majority of Muslims? Absolutely not. Do most Muslims reject it? Absolutely. But are they organized under the principle of being Muslims? The answer is yes. Just like it wasn't a vast majority of Italians but they were organized under the principle of being an Italian-American. You couldn't join unless you were an Italian-American.
SCARBOROUGH: So again, the question I'm getting to is --
BRZEZINSKI: Right, but you wouldn't put a ban on Italians coming to America.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm not trying to get into a debate that we've had in the rear-view mirror. It's how do we get the most Muslim-Americans engaged who are on our side anyway? Don't want to ask --
GIULIANI: Talking to them, organizing them, encouraging them to step up more, encouraging them to act against radical Islam. Explain intellectually and ideologically and theologically why this is repugnant to the way in which in the Hadith should now be interpreted. Those are the books that explicate the Koran. We need that kind of intellectual debate within the Muslim community. A counter-reformation, or a reformation, wouldn't be bad. A Martin Luther with a different name might not be a bad thing to come along right now. Gosh, the nuns in Catholic school would have beaten me up if they heard me say that. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 1/7/16]
Giuliani: “We Should All Thank” Rep. Peter King For Holding Anti-Muslim Hearings. On the March 11, 2011, edition of Fox News' Hannity, Giuliani discussed Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) hearings on Muslim radicalization in the United States, saying, “Pete King performed a great service for this country” with his anti-Muslim hearings “and I think we should all thank him” :
RUDY GIULIANI: I think Pete King performed a great service for this country. And I think we should all thank him. I wish that hearing had been held three years ago. Maybe there wouldn't have been an attack like the one at Fort Hood, if we'd had had a hearing like this. Maybe the people who made the decisions to move the major along wouldn't have made those decisions if they hadn't been so frightened that they would be put under the same kind of scrutiny that Pete King was put under, because he just raised a very legitimate question. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/11/11]