It was billed as an event to publicize Republican candidates for state legislative seats a day before the state party held its convention live on WABC-radio, with the star attractions being two possible candidates for Mayor next year and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
But by the time Mr. Giuliani was through lambasting Black Lives Matter, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and, at great length, Mayor de Blasio, attendees at the National Women's Republican Club in Manhattan Sept. 16 could be forgiven if they'd forgotten why they were there. Or, for that matter, that Mr. Giuliani had called for the hiring of 9,000 additional cops to deal with what he described as the city's out-of-control crime problem.
'Unhinged' a Compliment?
Adding to the surreality of the gathering was that it overlapped with Mr. de Blasio's daily briefing at City Hall, giving Mr. Giuliani a chance to respond, when told that the current Mayor had called him "unhinged," that considering the source, he considered that description "a badge of honor."
"It's quite clear the worst Mayor in the history of New York City is the present Mayor," he said.
He was joined at the press conference by two fellow WABC-radio talk-show hosts, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, along with Mr. Catsimatidis's daughter, Andrea, who chairs the Manhattan GOP. But while Mr. Sliwa, a blistering critic of both the Mayor and Governor Cuomo, took his share of shots at Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Giuliani's diatribe was the main attraction.
He digressed at times to lash out at others, calling Chancellor Carranza someone who "belongs in Cuba running their school system" and claiming that Black Lives Matter stood for "Kill cops; kill the pigs...They are cop-killers."
But the former two-term Mayor saved some of his most-withering assessments for the current occupant of Gracie Mansion, stating, "De Blasio: clearly unqualified to be Mayor. The guy was a political hack all his life."
Mr. Giuliani contended that during his tenure in office, "We went from being the most-dangerous city to the safest large city in America, and we remained there until this idiot took over...If you compare me with him, I was the greatest Mayor in the world."
When a reporter noted that in 2001, Mr. Giuliani's final year in office, there were 645 murders in the city—a figure that, despite a significant rise in homicides this year, the city is likely to fall far short of by Dec. 31—the ex-Mayor contended that after he'd held the job for seven years, New York was a more-dangerous city than it subsequently became.
He said, "I have Democrats who come up to me who say, 'We loved you; you were a great Mayor—we started hating you when you represented Trump, but we'd take you over de Blasio.'"
'Cost More Lives' Than Don?
It wasn't the only time during the press conference that Mr. Giuliani, who is the President's personal lawyer, invoked his main client's name in a context that wasn't necessarily helpful for Mr. Trump.
Accusing Mr. de Blasio of being slow to respond to the coronavirus, he said, "The man cost us way more lives than we had to lose during the pandemic. Everybody's talking about the President not recognizing it early enough— [the Mayor] recognized it a month-and-a-half after the President."
Actually, Mr. Trump over the previous week had been under fire because of a taped conversation Feb. 7 with journalist Bob Woodward in which the President made clear that he knew the virus was airborne and far more deadly than even serious strains of the flu.
Mr. de Blasio, asked at his briefing about remarks Mr. Giuliani had previously made about him to the New York Post, retorted, "I think he has amnesia; I think he is out of touch with reality. I think we've seen more and more of Rudy Giuliani become unhinged."
The Mayor gained office in 2013, defeating Joseph J. Lhota, Mr. Giuliani's former First Deputy Mayor, by a nearly 3-1 margin.
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