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Opinion | The Humiliations of Rudy Giuliani

POLITICO logo POLITICO 7/2/2022 By Jack Shafer
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani works on his smart phone before a news conference on June 7, 2022. © Mary Altaffer/AP Photo Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani works on his smart phone before a news conference on June 7, 2022.

Rudy Giuliani has been a national punchline for so long that the high hilarity that once accompanied his antics is finally no more.

Remember the time President Donald Trump’s former lawyer butt-dialed an NBC News reporter, not once but twice? Or his habit of mistakenly sending messages and photos to the wrong numbers? The time hair dye dripped down his temples like his head was melting? That weird Abraham Lincoln impersonation he did for a political ad? Sacha Baron Cohen pranking him in a movie? The deranged speech he gave last fall at a 9/11 memorial dinner and his denial that he was under the influence while giving it? The time he said $135,000 “isn’t pocket change, but it’s pretty close to it”? Or how about reporter Olivia Nuzzi’s hotel bar interview with Giuliani, his fly unzipped and drool inching down his face? His appearance on "The Masked Singer"?

These warm memories of Giuliani the political buffoon — the man willing to say stupid things in defense of Trump, the imaginative smear artist, the braying conspiracist, the muddled elderly man — have tickled us for so long. But the 78-year-old suffered such a chastening this week that human compassion demands that we stop laughing at the former mayor’s suffering and start sobbing instead. The man has become a pathetic spectacle, besieged on every front and humiliated at every juncture. Just give a gander at Rudy’s septimana horribilis.

  • In her Jan. 6 committee testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson said Giuliani requested a pardon. He tweeted a denial (which he then deleted) that seemed to imply that he asked for a pardon.
  • Hutchinson also connected Giuliani to the events of Jan. 6. She heard discussion of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in his presence and said he had told her, “Are you excited for the 6th? It’s going to be a great day. … We’re going to the Capitol,” implying his knowledge of what was to come.
  • His son, Andrew, got clocked in the Republican primary for governor.
  • Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate who served as a go-between for Rudy’s Ukraine adventures, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for fraud and campaign finance violations. (Giuliani has denied any knowledge of Parnas’ crimes.)
  • A Staten Island grocery store clerk was arrested for assault after slapping Giuliani on the back during a campaign event for his son. It felt “like somebody shot me,” Giuliani claimed. But the security video of the incident shared by the New York Post revealed the contact as more like a tap than a haymaker, and the felony arrest of the clerk was reduced to a misdemeanor. New York Mayor Eric Adams accused Giuliani of exaggerating the blow.
  • Two Georgia poll workers testified before Congress last week, contesting the accusations of vote tampering that Giuliani had leveled against them following the 2020 general election. Said Giuliani in a December 2020 video, they were “passing around USB ports like they were vials of heroin or cocaine.” One of the workers testified that her mother had passed her a ginger cookie.
  • Giuliani’s fortunes have fallen so low that he was reduced this week to touting $49.98 sandals from MyPillow.com on his Twitter account: “Promo code: Rudy.”

Video: Giuliani hit with ethics charges over false election claims (TODAY)

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How much further can a man fall than being a MyPillow pitchman? Plenty. The FBI is still investigating Giuliani’s Ukraine activities, and in June the Washington, D.C., Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed ethical misconduct charges against him.

You could assemble an anthology from Rudy’s recent press clips (see: “What Happened to Rudy Giuliani? It’s a Long Story”; “I Must Be ‘Really Stupid’ Because Rudy Is F*cked”; “Is Rudy Giuliani Losing His Mind?”; “The Crazy Last Days of Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon”; “How Rudy Giuliani Went From 9/11’s Hallowed Mayor to 2021’s Haunted Ghoul”; “What Happened to Rudy Giuliani?”; “How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown”; “The Fog of Rudy”; “What Happened to America’s Mayor?”) that would surpass the DSM-5 for pure nuttiness. Often, Giuliani pieces make reference to his drinking — he says he likes scotch with his cigars but he has no drinking problem, and contests any statement to the contrary. Last month, he called Trump campaign aide Jason Miller a liar in a mid-June tweet (later deleted) after Miller testified to Giuliani’s alleged tipsiness on election night 2020. Giuliani is said to have advised the president to declare victory that night — in her opening statement, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming, repeated that claim and said it came from “an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani.” In his deleted tweet, Giuliani wrote that he had forsworn drink that night. “My favorite drink..Diet Pepsi,” the tweet read.

Was a categorical denial the smartest strategy? When accused of doing something really stupid, like advising the president to declare victory prematurely, shouldn’t you think about availing yourself to the clemency automatically granted to people who confess to having imbibed too much — even when no sipping has occurred? It’s not too late, Rudy. As your miserable week turns into a miserable month and then a miserable year, you could do worse than to find something outside of yourself to blame your troubles on.

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Send cigar bar tips to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. No new email alert subscriptions are being honored at this time. My Twitter feed drinks sparingly. My RSS feed says drink deep from the fountain of life or not at all.

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