Sometimes, you just gotta let it go. On Monday, May 28, Rudy Giuliani got loudly booed during a New York Yankees game, after it was announced that it was the former mayor's 74th birthday. And on Wednesday, he reportedly tried to spin that embarrassing moment to his advantage ― Giuliani claimed Yankees fans boo when they love someone, something that most people on the receiving end of a stadium-full of surly baseball fans would probably not claim.
Giuliani, now an attorney for President Donald Trump, served as the Republican mayor of the city of New York from 1994 to 2001, and ran for president in 2008. Since the end of his tenure as mayor, he's become an increasingly polarizing and controversial figure, and now as a legal counselor to the president, he's firmly back in the political spotlight.
And if there's one thing sports stadiums are willing to do, it's boo politicians. Even former president Barack Obama, whose approval ratings were better than the current president's, got roundly booed while throwing out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game. In other words, it's nothing a public figure should take too hard, even if it is their birthday.
But it's also not necessary to be in denial about it, which is how a lot of people are reading Giuliani's reported remark on Wednesday. He reportedly addressed the booing, telling Fox News producer Pat Ward, Giuliani insisted they were actually boos of affection.
This claim is a little hard to figure out, because in a sports context, the boo is more or less the universally recognized sign of contempt, cutting across linguistic and cultural barriers alike. Think to yourself: when was the last time you saw somebody get affectionately booed? When was the last time, for that matter, you saw someone get cheered out of hostility?
That's really not how it works, regardless of how Giuliani wants to spin it. It doesn't mean that nobody loves him, of course ― he was a fairly popular mayor throughout his time in office, and the controversial parts of his career notwithstanding, there are surely still some New York Republicans who think back on his time in charge with fondness.
But that doesn't mean that a bunch of booing Yankees fans were doing so out of affection ― when opposing players, and even Yankees players get booed, it's not a sign of endearment. Nobody boos when one of their own team's players hits a home run, for example. Although in fairness to Giuliani, he is a longtime Yankees fan, so maybe there's a certain subtlety to this conversation that's lost on people who aren't.
It's clear that Fox News host Brian Kilmeade didn't think the fans were booing out of love, however. He leapt to Giuliani's defense on Twitter, scolding the fans for booing "the best NY mayor u ever had!!"
Giuliani, for his part, almost definitely has more pressing things to deal with than worrying about how Yankees fans feel about him. In recent weeks he's been a regular fixture on cable news shows, acting as a legal representative of the president, and in that capacity he's drawn a lot of attention, and also a lot of derision.
He made some news in that regard too on Wednesday, claiming that he doesn't think that Trump won't fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions prior to the completion of the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. This should probably come as a relief to Sessions, who Trump has frequently criticized for recusing himself from Mueller's investigation. Although, based on Giuliani's booing take, maybe Trump's various criticisms and attacks are just his way of making Sessions feel loved and appreciated.