Watching politicians squirm and backtrack on remarks they've previously made often serves as some form of entertainment, and the former Mayor of New York City presented a golden opportunity to kick back and see him do exactly that, after Rudy Giuliani backtracked on his "Obama doesn't love America" comment.
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Giuliani said:
Well, first of all, I’m not questioning his patriotism. He’s a patriot, I’m sure. What I am saying, is in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear him say the things I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America.
His explanation comes hot on the heels of his less-than-respectful remarks at a private dinner fundraising for potential GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday night, in which he challenged Obama's patriotism. To the crowd consisting of right-leaning media, business executives, as well as Gov. Scott Walker, Giuliani said:
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but 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.
Horrible indeed — at least Giuliani had the decency to admit that. While many Republican lawmakers have made clear over the years of their lack of fondness for President Obama's policies — and often for the President himself, too — through oftentimes highly critical remarks, the former mayor took it to new heights on Wednesday.
Of course, it's his prerogative to voice his opinions (particularly at what was supposed to be a private event) but Giuliani's position and prominence made his remark, and its reasoning, downright bewildering. After Politico reported his comments, Giuliani was deservedly criticized — White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said that it was "horrible"; current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was a "pitiful," "cheap political trick" (ouch); and members of the media similarly heaped scathing criticism on Giuliani.
But others in the GOP, most strikingly Gov. Walker, refused to chastize the former mayor. When asked on CNBC to react to Giuliani's comments, Walker said:
The mayor can speak for himself. I’m not going to comment on what the President thinks or not, he can speak for himself.
The silence on the Republican side led Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to denounce Walker, Giuliani and their fellow Republicans, reported USA Today. In a show of good example, Wasserman Schultz said:
I rarely agreed with President Bush, but I never questioned his love for our country.
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