After the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Republican Rudy Giuliani was widely praised for the leadership he showed as New York City’s mayor during one of the darkest times in the city’s history. But these days, many of the people who were praising Giuliani as a take-charge leader after 9/11 have become blistering critics — for example, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. And journalist Seth Hettena, in Rolling Stone, takes an in-depth look at Giuliani’s journey from “America’s mayor” to self-serving Trump sycophant.
In 2001, Hettena recalls, the thing that Giuliani “represented to most Americans” was “a man whose steady response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, transcended partisan politics and transformed him into a national hero.”
“Christened ‘America’s Mayor,’ Giuliani for years was an immensely popular figure who appeared destined for a lucrative, decorated career at the spires of American business and government,” Hettena explains. “Two decades later, Giuliani is in free fall. The past few years on the national stage have left his reputation in tatters, marked in history for his role in the Ukraine extortion scandal that got a president impeached.”
Hettena goes on to note that Giuliani “has seemed, at times, unstable and incoherent, contradicting both himself and the president in wild appearances on cable news, while spinning a web of conspiracy theories with (former Vice President) Joe Biden at the center…. Even those with a deep affinity for Rudy have been stunned as a man they barely recognize pokes at his iPad in Fox News interviews or drools through a boozy lunch with a reporter.”
For example, Never Trump conservative and GOP strategist Rick Wilson — a major Giuliani admirer after 9/11 — said of NYC’s former mayor, “It’s a cliché that if you live long enough, you’ll see your heroes become villains.”
So what brought about the change in Giuliani? A recurring theme in Hettena’s article is that Giuliani, in recent years, became so consumed with ruthless ambition and an obsession with making as much money as possible that he abandoned the core values he once held. Giuliani’s desire to live a “jet-set lifestyle,” according to Hettena, became his top priority.
“It was a lifestyle in search of an income, and there was no shortage of businesses and foreign governments willing to throw money at Giuliani and his new consultancy, Giuliani Partners,” Hettena notes.
Hettena wraps up his article by lamenting that the Giuliani of 2001 is unlikely to return.
“Rudy slips further and further from the glory he once knew,” Hettena writes. “His latest venture is a video podcast where, in between ads for Cigar Aficionado, he prosecutes Biden, defends Trump and pushes unproven coronavirus cures. Reality is a stubborn opponent, and obsession is a dangerous game. But for Rudy Giuliani, that seems to be all he has left.”