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Rudy Giuliani: In the Middle, Yet Again
September 30, 2019
What’s with Rudy Giuliani?
At age 75, he’s basking in his attack-dog role as President Trump’s attorney, taking center stage in Trump’s “You have to do me a favor” phone call to the Ukrainian president: to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Turns out Rudy did some pressuring himself.
And yes, readers, this is the same Rudy who served for eight years as New York City’s mayor. Self-righteous and self-centered; scornful of differing opinions; never backing down from a scrape or an argument; he was often called racist, and maybe he was. At the same time, he was responsible for the city’s — and the NYPD’s — turnabout after decades of rampant crime. He gave then police commissioner Bill Bratton the freedom to institute his “broken windows” policing philosophy, leading to 25 years of crime declines that continue to this day.
But because Bratton credited himself, not Rudy, for the crime declines, Rudy fired him two years later. Then, in 2000, he ignored the advice of his advisers and appointed as police commissioner his former driver Bernard Kerik, who ended up in federal prison on corruption charges.
Then came 9/11. In those first days of terror, when President George W. Bush was all but invisible, Rudy stood alone, single-handedly, it seemed, holding the city together. His self-righteousness and self-centeredness, his unwillingness or inability to accept differing views now appeared to be strengths. When foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, and Tony Blair visited Ground Zero, they made sure to stand at Rudy’s side. The French president Jacques Chirac, who died last week, dubbed him Rudy the Rock.
That was the high point. In 2008 Rudy was the Republican’s early favorite to succeed Bush. Instead, he ended up with but one delegate. In 2016 he threw in with Donald Trump.
The two had plenty in common. They both had oppressive fathers and have scant regard for women. Rudy’s dad Harold was a leg-breaker for the mob, who, as the investigative journalist Wayne Barrett discovered, had served time in Sing Sing for armed robbery.
Like Trump, Rudy was married three times. His first marriage, to his second cousin Regina Perrugi, was annulled. His second marriage to journalist/actor Donna Hanover disintegrated while he was mayor, in part because he was having an affair with his 30-something press secretary. Then he announced on television he was divorcing Hanover before informing her. His third wife, Judy Nathan, nursed him through his prostate cancer and is now divorcing him, with hints of a tell-all book.
With Trump’s election in 2016, Rudy lobbied to become Secretary of State. There was talk of his becoming Attorney General. Instead he ended up as Trump’s Roy Cohn, his attack-dog personal attorney.
He’s now got the scent of the Bidens: specifically how Hunter, with no experience or legitimacy, was granted a $50,000-a-month consultancy to a Ukrainian firm while his father, then U.S. vice president, held the U.S.’s Ukrainian portfolio. Who knows? That issue could resonate with Americans as much, if not more, than Trump’s alleged pressuring phone call to the Ukrainian president.
The Democrats may well impeach Trump, but before Rudy’s through with Hunter, Joe Biden may become collateral damage, unable to hold his polling lead for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Copyright © 2019 Leonard Levitt