After claiming that President Obama doesn’t love America at a dinner Wednesday night, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the New York Times Thursday that his comments cannot be deemed racist because the President was raised and taught by white people. The one-time GOP Presidential candidate spent most of Thursday making the media rounds to elaborate on his dinner remarks but seemed to make things infinitely worse. Beyond the NYT interview, Giuliani appeared on Fox News multiple times, as well as Sean Hannity’s radio show, where he also claimed Obama didn’t live through 9/11.
During the Wednesday night dinner, Giuliani told a group of conservatives, including 2016 GOP hopeful Scott Walker, the following about Obama.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
In a subsequent interview with Politico, Giuliani owned his remarks and expanded on them, saying POTUS doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism and embraced many of the views expressed by conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza by painting Obama as someone who wants to make the country suffer because he views America as a “colonial empire.” He reiterated these views in his interview with the Times Thursday.
“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. This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
Beyond the stupid rationalization about how he can’t be racist because of Obama’s white family members, we notice Giuliani sticking in the references to socialism and anti-colonialism. He is obviously trying to appeal to the nuttier wing of the Republican Party, jumping headlong into the birther pool and letting the tin-foil hat wearers know that he has their back. The former mayor is making sure to pull out all of the old favorites to present a picture of the President as an ‘other’ who is secretly trying to transform America into some kind of socialist wasteland because he despises it.
This was made clear when he challenged the Times to prove Obama loves his country by saying, “I’m happy for him to give a speech where he talks about what’s good about America and doesn’t include all the criticism.” In Giuliani’s mind, it is an absolute certainty that in Obama’s 6+ years in office, he’s never once made a speech where he expresses his love and admiration for America without completely undermining it at the same time.
Thursday evening, Giuliani showed up on The Kelly File to discuss his comments with host Megyn Kelly. When Kelly asked him if he wanted to apologize for questioning the President’s patriotism, Mr. 9-11 not only refused to do so, but said he actually wanted to “repeat it.” While sitting down with Kelly, Giuliani ended up claiming that Obama learned communism from his grandfather, who fought in World War II and brought it back with him. He also brought up Reverend Jeremiah Wright as an example of Obama associating himself with people who dislike America.
The thing is, Giuliani was given multiple chances to either apologize for his remarks or at least try to walk them back. In the end, he decided to just go further down the rabbit hole and start spewing conspiratorial garbage about the President. The worst part of this is so-called mainstream Republicans, especially ones who are thinking of running in 2016, aren’t distancing themselves from Giuliani or condemning his remarks. Walker demurred when asked directly about it and merely pivoted by saying he himself loves this country. At the same time, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal released a statement pointing out he doesn’t condemn the ex-mayor.
I’m not sure the moderates that Republicans are hoping to capture in the 2016 election are going to embrace any candidate who endorses these kinds of viewpoints. Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot if they think irrational Obama hatred is going to carry them to the White House next year.