In early January 2010, Rudy Giuliani, known for his obsessive focus on the 9/11 attacks, made a bizarre comment on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The former mayor argued, “What [President Obama] should be doing is following the right things that [George W. Bush] did – one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror.”
Giuliani added, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”
Of course, we had a very memorable domestic attack under Bush. The “one” under Obama, in this case, apparently referred to “Underwear Bomber” Umar Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a concealed explosive on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, but who failed. This “attack,” fortunately, led to zero casualties.
More than six years later, Giuliani is still confused.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Monday said terrorists failed to successfully strike the United States in the eight years before President Obama and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton took office.“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States,” Giuliani said Monday ahead of a speech by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on foreign policy. “They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”
Context, of course, is everything. If you watch this clip, note that Giuliani was praising Republican vice presidential hopeful Mike Pence, and appeared to refer to a period after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
I’m not sure, however, how much that helps Giuliani’s case.
It’s not that Giuliani forgot about 9/11 today; it’s just that the New York Republican appears to start the clock after the deadly attacks. He seems to operate from the assumption that the Bush/Cheney record is exemplary and worthy of emulation, just so long as Americans choose to overlook the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the country.
Indeed, looking at the quote again – “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States” – the context makes clear Giuliani was talking about a post-9/11 period, but what’s less clear is which “eight years” he’s talking about.
And then, of course, there’s the follow-up sentence: terrorist attacks “all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.” Again, I realize Giuliani was referring to a time after 9/11, but for anyone who cares about the factual details, domestic terrorism didn’t begin on President Obama’s inauguration day and it won’t end after his successor is sworn in.
Even with the full context, Giuliani’s truly bizarre perspective makes it sound as if the United States was free of terrorism before 2009. That’s ridiculous. Reality points in a very different direction.