Among those paying tribute to former Uniformed Firefighters Association President Jimmy Boyle following his death Oct. 27 was Rudy Giuliani, in what lately has been an infrequent appearance of The Good Rudy.
He tweeted that morning that Mr. Boyle “was a legendary leader of our FDNY. He was also a great guy and a unique New Yorker. God bless Jimmy and his family.”
Mr. Boyle’s second term as UFA president ended a few months before Mr. Giuliani was elected Mayor, but his son Michael—who would later become a Firefighter and was among the 340 who died during the 9/11 rescue attempts, served as the UFA’s liaison to the Giuliani campaign for the elder Boyle’s successor, Tom Von Essen.
Jimmy in 2007 became a member of First Responders for Giuliani, a group formed by ex-Fire and Police Commissioner Howard Safir during the ex-Mayor’s brief, unhappy run for President to counter the criticism of Rudy on a variety of 9/11-related issues by families of others who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Mr. Boyle explained in an interview back then that whatever misgivings he harbored about Mr. Giuliani, he believed some of the criticism of him was unfair, saying that “he was very considerate toward the families—more than the public knows.”
In the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center, when many first-responders could not initially be found, the then-Mayor kept them on the payroll on overtime until their remains were discovered, which increased their final salaries and gave a corresponding boost to the accidental death-benefit pensions that were collected by their survivors.
Mr. Boyle also praised Mr. Giuliani for the strength he showed in the hours and days after the Twin Towers collapsed, saying it helped firefighter families cope with their grief.
“He did project leadership,” he said. “He was arrogant, he was a dictator sometimes, but he was also very compassionate. At a personal level, there was a lot of compassion shown.”
The esteem in which Mr. Boyle was held by many journalists who covered him was reflected in a re-tweet of Mr. Giuliani’s tribute by Tom Robbins, the investigative reporter in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism who earlier in the month wrote a scathing piece in The Nation about how his disillusionment with the once-crusading prosecutor had begun with Rudy’s peculiar alliance with Donald Trump in the late 1980s. He attached a comment to the tribute: “The one thing I agree with Rudy G about.”
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Bad Rudy would resurface. That occurred two days later after testimony before the House of Representatives by Lieut. Colonel Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, that the White House transcript of President Trump’s July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, omitted damaging remarks made by Mr. Trump that sufficiently disturbed him that he sought unsuccessfully to have them added.
Mr. Giuliani tweeted in response, “A US gov. employee who has reportedly been advising two gov’s? No wonder he is confused and feels pressure.”
This was apparently a reference to Mr. Vindman having been born in Ukraine, and had as much substance as the President dismissing him as a “Never Trumper” with no evidence to support it. What Mr. Giuliani—who avoided the draft with the help of a friendly Federal Judge—left out was that Mr. Vindman, who was apparently had the ex-Mayor in mind when he spoke of “outside influencers” in Ukraine, while serving in Iraq was wounded by a roadside bomb and received a Purple Heart.
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