NEW YORK CITY — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is a long time critic of current Mayor Bill de Blasio, and a long time cheerleader for his own legacy during his time in City Hall in the 1990s.
“It’s quite clear the worst mayor in the history of New York City is the present mayor,” Giuliani said.
But Giuliani’s Wednesday comments quickly devolved from harsh criticism into a lengthy exercise in race-baiting, along with a trip down memory lane that often lacked context and ventured, at times, into historical revisionism.
We begin with Giuliani’s comments about NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
” He has a chancellor that belongs in Cuba, running their school system,” he said. “And maybe he should go back to Cuba.”
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is Mexican-American, not Cuban; he was born in Tucson, Arizona.
Mayor de Blasio responded on Twitter. His last line reads, “Rudy Giuliani is irrelevant and represents everything WRONG with this country.”
On the second day of Hispanic Heritage Month, @RudyGiuliani decides to lob through another racist comment.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 16, 2020
Giuliani’s statements about the current state of affairs in New York City, and the country continued.
“If you want to take a knee,” he said of those protesting racial injustice, “you should take a knee every time a cop goes by. It’s the cop who’s protecting you. not the Black Lives Matter criminals.”
It was one of many instances in which Giuliani attempted to portray Black Lives Matter not as a national movement and rallying cry for police reform, but instead as a singular, violent organization.
“That’s what Black Lives Matter stands for,” he said. “They are cop killers.”
Giuliani inaccurately portrayed peaceful protesters, and violent criminals mixed in the crowd as one in the same, when in realty, they are clearly two distinct groups.
He also delved into the coronavirus pandemic and it’s connection to the city’s ongoing economic shutdown.
“We have one of the biggest exoduses in New York City going on right now. The rich people are leaving,” he said.
He said the city should no longer be partially shut down, though de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have said the city’s progress with the coronavirus pandemic is largely due to that very shut down.
Giuliani then explained his his preferred strategy to reduce crime, a hallmark of his previous administration.
“The trick was reversing every irrational, criminal friendly, dependency friendly, liberal policy,” he said. “Just reverse it.”
Political historian and Fairleigh Dickenson University Government and Law Professor Dan Cassino said Giuliani actually benefited from the forces of gentrification, along with the groundwork laid by his predecessor, Mayor David Dinkins.
Cassino also said that Giuliani era crime reduction came with a cost.
“It’s really not fair for him to say that he’s the sole reason why the crime rate in New York went down as far as it did,” Cassino said. “We had enormous levels of policing, so we had a lot of arrests, but arrests aren’t necessarily a good metric of actually having stopped crime. So a lot of what Rudy Giuliani did made white people feel safer, but at the expense of making people of color feel like they were victims in their own neighborhoods.”