The Sad Ballad of Rudolph Giuliani
Painfully, we begin tonight with Donald Trump – The Magician.
Donald Trump is the greatest magician who’s ever lived. His sleight of hand and misdirection is rivaled by no one. He loves letting the American people know they should be afraid of x,y, and z. In this instance, let’s consider x, y, and z to be Hillary Clinton’s emails, the biased media, and voter fraud. And while the American people—most notably the Democrats and other liberals—are busy in-fighting about his hypocrisy or illogic, Mr. Trump sets off on a blistering course of executive orders. These executive orders do far more than advance his, frankly, bizarre agenda, they pose a legitimate threat to our Constitution and our national security.
While pundits, representatives, and constituents were busy shouting on CNN and MSNBC about the absurdity of voter fraud, Mr. Trump signed an executive order banning entry of refugees while also banning the travel to and from seven Middle Eastern countries—not surprisingly, predominately Muslim countries. Hundreds of immigrants were detained at airports, including—and, this is real—several who are here legally on work visas. Even though the sole purpose of this order was to keep Muslims out of America, and even though Mr. Trump said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions, he audaciously claimed this ban was “not about religion.”
So what did the people do? They got out and protested another executive order from a leader with a propensity for blatant maleficence. Was Mr. Trump deterred by the American people who took to the airwaves, the streets, the airports, and social media to condemn his action? Hardly. While they lambasted this vile, heinous act, Mr. Trump slipped in what could be one of the most harmful orders that seemingly no one is talking about. Last Saturday night the yellow-haired, human Droopy Dog signed an executive order giving the disheveled, perpetually red-faced Steve Bannon a seat on the principals committee of the National Security Council.
How could Mr. Trump do such a thing?
Easy. He downgraded the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence. So now Mr. Bannon—whose Breitbart website is a haven for bigoted, racist, misogynists—will have more power than our nation’s most trusted security members. The mere fact that Mr. Bannon looks constantly on the verge of a heart attack should give us pause enough, but the reality is: Mr. Bannon’s goals are the advancement of white, rich, males and the destruction of the state.
This is not hyperbole.
Mr. Bannon made that clear late last year in an interview with the Daily Beast when he said, “[Vladimir] Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
But what’s most concerting is the amount of power the members of the principals committee have, especially—and this, too, is real—authorizing the assassination of enemies of the United States government, including American citizens. These assassinations are fully authorized by law and no details of the killings are required to be released to the public. According to the Harvard Law Journal, “President [George W.] Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if there was strong evidence that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out acts of terrorism against the United States or U.S. interests.” And, now, Tomato-faced Bannon will be a part of a secret panel to determine such threats. This would be like giving a six-year old the nuclear football and then telling him every other country in the world wants him to eat his Brussels sprouts.
I realize the clown car of absurd ideas and orders enacted by Mr. Trump in the last two weeks has been overwhelming—I, myself, feel the urge to block all news notifications on my phone—but if we ignore the magician’s slight of hand for too long, we’ll be the unfortunate victims of his curious trick. Let’s stop fighting about the things that don’t matter. In short, let’s give up on proving Trump’s wrong about voter fraud, let’s quit making him realize there weren’t six million fucking people at his inauguration, and let’s stop demanding he release his tax returns. Trump supporters are blind to his faults, and a man cheating on his taxes aren’t going to make him seem evil—it’ll make him seem smart. I’m tired of wasting time wandering down the trails that lead nowhere. If we continue to do so, we’ll be fooled by the magician’s cruel illusion, and we’ll have nothing to do but wonder, for years to come, how in the absolute hell he pulled it off.
And now, a brief segue:
Our main story tonight concerns Rudy Giuliani.
Last week, former New York City mayor turned cyber security expert, Rudolph Giuliani claimed Donald Trump wanted “a Muslim ban” and ordered Giuliani himself to assemble a commission to show him “the right way to do it legally.” Giuliani, appearing on Fox News, eagerly recalled the details of a phone call that allegedly took place between him and the president.
For the full interview, click here.
Giuliani, speculated by many to be the next Secretary of State before removing himself from contention, said, “When (Trump) first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’” Giuliani, who himself has a difficult relationship with legality, took almost grotesque pleasure in relaying the details. He explained the story as if conveying an anecdote from summer camp, inexplicably unaware he was divulging the fact Mr. Trump knew what he was doing, and knew it was based off of religious discrimination. Perhaps it’s because of Giuliani’s obliviousness why he rose so meteorically and fell so catastrophically during Trump’s campaign, and subsequent victory.
Or perhaps it’s because Rudy Giuliani has a history of making inflammatory statements—statements that, over the years, have become more and more fantastical. For example, even though Rudy’s father did a stint in Sing Sing prison for felony assault and robbery, and even though that father later became an enforcer for an organized crime family in NewYork, Giuliani claimed former President Obama “doesn’t love America” because he wasn’t brought up right. He also claimed the Central Park Five—five black and Latino men falsely accused of rape and assault and later exonerated through DNA evidence—were still guilty because, after all, they were “criminals and engaged in criminal activity.” This statement came even though there was no empirical evidence to support such a claim.
Or what about that time, when questioned about the shootings of unarmed, black men, he said, “White police officers wouldn’t be there if black people weren’t killing each other.” Therefore, categorically claiming the reason unarmed black men are relentlessly murdered by white cops is because they’re doing it to themselves. It’s possible because of these, and many other inflammatory statements, he wasn’t asked to be a cabinet member to either George W. Bush’s presidency or Donald Trump’s current fiasco. But I'm not inclined to believe that.
Then if it's not his inflammatory statements, perhaps it’s because of his questionable ethics and actions during his tenure as mayor of New York City. This is the same mayor who sought an increase in fines for jaywalkers, constructed pedestrian barricades, ordered the arrest of homeless men and women found sleeping in public places, saying, “Streets do not exist in civilized societies for the purpose of sleeping there. Bedrooms are for sleeping,” and spent city funds escorting his mistress from Long Island to Manhattan. An out of touch mayor is not an anomaly in America, but a mayor with such little basis in reality is the definition of Rudy Giuliani. But reality has never been a strong fixture in Donald Trump’s world, so I’d be hard-pressed to believe it’s this that sunk Giuliani’s cabinet hopes.
After 9/11, Giuliani became both a local and national hero, taking to the streets to assure the people they would rise again and that sheer New York will would be the foundation for their cure. But, sadly for Rudy, this adoration didn’t last long. He falsely claimed, after the attack, he was the only politician at Ground Zero—chastising then-New York Senator Hillary Clinton for her lack of action—even though, unfortunately for Rudy, she marched next to him hours after the attack.
But perhaps the most harmful action Giuliani took post-9/11 was during the city’s cleanup efforts. Despite the arrival of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Army Corp of Engineers, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—all with extensive disaster response experience—Giuliani dismissed the groups and assigned the Ground Zero cleanup to the largely unknown city agency, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Giuliani and the DDC claimed the air quality around Ground Zero was “safe,” even though records show the city was aware of the danger from the start. In a federal court deposition, Kelly R. McKinney, associate commissioner at the city’s health department, issued a statement claiming she gave the city an advisory of asbestos in the air and warned of its hazards. FEMA, the Army Corp, and the OSHA instructed all workers at Ground Zero to wear respirators, an instruction Giuliani and the DDC ignored. Since the cleanup, dozens of those workers have become ill. According to the New York Times, 70% of the nearly 10,000 cleanup crew screened at Mount Sinai Medical Center had trouble breathing and healthcare costs related to such illnesses have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. As crazy as this sounds: it’s hard to believe even this colossal fuck-up was the reason Trump steered away from Giuliani.
After all, Giuliani was one of Trump’s staunchest proponents at the start of the shaky campaign—a campaign in which nobody seemed eager to latch on to. Rudy was like Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, when Tom Cruise is yelling, “Who’s coming with me?” and all he got was a low-level secretary.
But Trump used Giuliani as Trump does and he got Rudy to deliver some truly astonishing sound bites, including—and oh my god, this is absolutely what he said—“There were no radical Islamic terrorist attacks while George W. Bush was president.” Giuliani, seemingly unaware he’s acted as the RNC’s puppet for the last decade and a half, has happily taken to the airwaves to shout nonsense I’m not even sure he believes. He bungles simple sentences, he blathers on about the true meaning of patriotism, and he instills fear whenever handed the opportunity—like that time he said his friend was afraid to go to London because, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had created an unsafe world.
Let's set all of this aside. Consider them innocuous facts and unfortunate incidences when being considered for a cabinet position. And let's also set aside the fact that a several hundred page document written by Giuliani's campaign staff was leaked to the press citing the candidate's vulnerabilities. And let's also set aside the fact that this steadfast patriot was a willful Vietnam draft dodger. And let's note that, as a Republican, Giuliani often strayed from the pack. He believes in the teaching of evolution, was a proponent for gun control saying a mandatory waiting period for a handgun was a “sensible and moderate” solution. He’s come out in support of gay marriage, he supports the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, he’s expressed pro-choice positions during his campaigns in 1989, 1993, 2000, and 2008, and, during his time as mayor, fought for the rights of illegal immigrants—calling for them to be allowed to use public schools and even pressed for a $12,000,000 grant to start a city agency that would help illegal immigrants gain citizenship.
It’s possible these deviations from the Republican norms is what eventually killed any chance he had at a cabinet position. Or perhaps he’s just too goddamn unlikable. Rudy, the RNC, other members of the Republican party, Fox News, and now Donald Trump treat you like that nerd in high school. You ask the pretty girl to prom and she says “yes” only to ditch you as soon as something only slightly better comes along. I’d like to say it’s nothing personal, but we both know that's not true.
Why is Giuliani forever alone in the world of politics? I don’t know. But I do know that when he’s eventually cast aside like a rotten piece of cube steak, the networks open up and grant him full autonomy, eager for him to make baseless claim after baseless claim, infuriating the left, provoking the activists, and titillating the right. Rudy, you are a puppet’s puppet, fighting the battles only to be forgotten. Your ballad is sad and long, and, unfortunately for us all, there is no end in sight.