He was the “mayor of the United States”, respected throughout the world for his reaction to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
But today, Rudy Giuliani is the embodiment of those Republicans willing to do anything to serve US President Donald Trump, including defending mind-blowing conspiracy theories.
His press conference Thursday in Washington, filled with surreal moments, may well go down in the annals of history.
In it, the former mayor of New York (1994-2001) and Trump’s personal lawyer suggested that President-elect Joe Biden would be the origin of a “centralized plan” of massive electoral fraud that would have allowed him to keep votes destined for the Republican president .
He offered no concrete evidence as he sweated the fat drop and the ink to color his gray sideburns dripped down his face.
Two days earlier, Giuliani, 76, was scolded by a Pennsylvania federal judge. This lawyer who has not argued in court for years seemed to lose the thread of reasoning when he demanded to invalidate millions of ballot papers, based on the testimony of two individuals who claim that they could not vote.
How is it that this former example of cold blood and resilience in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, a respected former federal prosecutor – one of the first to fight the New York mob and white collar crimes – can now defend conspiracy theories with such vigor either in person or on your YouTube channel?
– Decades of controversy –
Those who have known him for a long time emphasize that he always loved cameras, exaggerations and controversies.
Josh Greenman, who worked for him between 1997 and 2001, recalled Thursday in the Daily News “his tendency to inflate the numbers”, his defense of police methods considered racist or his “crazy crusade” against a Brooklyn museum he accused of “anti-catholic”.
But he also knew how to overcome partisan divergences, Greenman qualified, “to state truths” about the crime that New York Democrats refused to see, while defending strict control of firearms and a humanitarian approach to immigration, far from the creed. current Republican.
For Robert Polner, a former journalist who contributed in 2007 to a highly critical book on Giuliani, the former mayor’s turn dates back to his unhappy 2008 presidential campaign.
In the Republican primaries, Giuliani had much more radical proposals, close to those of Trump eight years later: he defended a halt in abortions and clandestine immigration, the systematic identification of people who live in the United States without being citizens, tax cuts and an establishment shake-up in Washington.
After his failure, “Giuliani saw his friendship with Trump as his path to power, and he never backed down,” Polner said.
– Reputation “stained forever” –
During the 2016 campaign, Giuliani did not hesitate to defend Trump’s accusations that Barack Obama was the founder of the Islamic State organization. And he was the first to jump to the defense of the former real estate mogul when a video was released in which he boasted of grabbing women “by the cunt” whenever he wanted, something that threatened to derail his candidacy.
Despite this devotion, Giuliani was slow to return to the heart of power. After Trump’s election there were rumors that he would be appointed secretary of state, something that did not materialize.
He was named the president’s cybersecurity specialist in 2017, before joining the president’s legal team in 2018. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference was then in full swing.
In the fall of 2019, he found himself at the heart of the Ukraine scandal.
Giuliani’s efforts to convince Kiev to release compromising information about Joe Biden were publicized, which contributed to leaving the US president on the brink of impeachment.
Two men who worked for him in Ukraine were indicted in New York for violating laws on campaign finance.
The private life of the former mayor, recently divorced from his third wife, fuels the ridicule of his Democratic opponents.
The problems with his phones are notorious: he has accidentally called journalists and in 2017 asked an Apple Store to unlock his phone after forgetting his code.
He was recently cheated on by actor Sacha Baron Cohen. In his latest “Borat” film, Giuliani appears in a hotel room with a young actress posing as a television journalist, lying on the bed with her hand in her pants, a shameful situation, although he assured that only he was adjusting his shirt.
“We could already discuss his reputation in 2010 or 2015,” Greeman said with some regret. But “since 2020, it is forever tainted by Trump and Trumpism.”
cat / lbc / yow