The former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Wednesday, at a private fundraiser dinner in New York City, that he does not believe President Obama loves America. Giuliani accused Obama of always criticizing and apologizing for the United States and never defending the country or extolling its “exceptional values.”
“I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”
Reacting to Giuliani’s statement, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he felt “sorry” for the former mayor and that he had tarnished his legacy by making the statement.
“I feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani today. It’s sad to see when somebody who’s attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly.”
Guiliani’s critics, including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, described his statement as “racist” and “crazy.” Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Robinson said that Giuliani, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, committed a “strategic blunder.”
“Yes, Mr. Mayor, It is racist, and it sounds, frankly, kind of unhinged. This is a President who was elected twice, with more than 50 percent of the popular vote both times. Just as politics, it seems crazy to me.”
Recalling the fact that Giuliani ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, other critics, such as Jay Smooth, writing on the website Fusion, argue that Giuliani’s statement was a calculated act of political demagoguery with a white American target audience.
In Smooth’s analysis, Giuliani’s statement that he doubts that “Obama loves America” and that Obama “doesn’t love you, and he doesn’t love me,” was dog whistle political talk that can be decoded, “He doesn’t love white America; he doesn’t love us white folks.”
“You remember him, right? The one who crashed and burned trying to court you in 2008? The one whose online profile seemed so charming until you met him in person? That’s right, he’s back. Whispering in your ear about how you’re the most beautiful, exceptional country, and that tall, dark, possibly socialist stranger you’re with now will never love you like old Rudy can.”
But as critics point out, even Giuliani himself admitted that his suggestion that “Obama does not love America” was a “horrible thing to say.” So liberal critics ask: Why are conservatives defending a man who has admitted that his statement was a “horrible thing to say”?
However, Giuliani responded to accusations that his comment was racist, saying that it couldn’t be racist because Obama “was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of the time he learned from white people.”
“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people. This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
How do you react to the argument that Giuliani was playing dog whistle politics when he said he doubts that Obama loves America, and that “he [Obama] doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me”?
[Image: Getty Images]