WASHINGTON – Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, addressed the Republican National Convention in a prime slot Thursday night, lamenting current protests against social and racial injustice as “vicious, brutal riots.”
Giuliani acknowledged “the unforgivable police killing of George Floyd”, the catalyst for nationwide protests that began in May, and then blamed Democrats for hijacking “a few brief shining moments” of peaceful demonstrations as being “very dangerous to the left.”
“They had a president to beat and a country to destroy, and although an agreement on action against police brutality would be very valuable for the country, it would also make President Trump appear to be an effective leader,” said Giuliani, whose support for the president has turned him into a hyper-partisan figure.
Giuliani highlighted Black children who had been killed by violence, and not police killings, expressing outrage that there were no protests for 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro,17-Year-Old Brandon Hendricks, and 1-year-old Davell Gardner, Jr. There were in fact protests after each were killed.
“For President Trump, and for us Republicans, all Black lives matter and the lives of LeGend, Brandon and Davell matter to us,” Giuliani continued. “All lives matter to us.”
Giuliani accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of being a “Trojan horse” for “pro-criminal, anti-police, socialist policies.” Other RNC speakers have also said Biden is anti-police, but Biden’s past remarks don’t support those claims. While some on the left have called for defunding police, Biden has repeatedly pushed against that call. Biden has also called for an increase in police funding to address racial profiling.
“These continuous riots in Democrat cities gives you a good view of the future under Biden,” he said. Biden’s campaign has pointed out in response to similar predictions that the current violence is happening while Trump is in office, not a Democrat.
“Last night, Vice President Mike Pence stood before America and with a straight face said, ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,’” Biden tweeted today in response to last night’s convention. “His proof? The violence you’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America.”
Giuliani addressed viewers directly, warning that they could see the “lawlessness” in their cities. He also said he has “no question” that Trump will fight to preserve “our way of life.”
“Mr. President, make our nation safe again,” Giuliani said.
The message has come at a particularly tense time in the country as protests in Wisconsin continued several days after police shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, in the back. Blake’s family has said he is paralyzed. The shooting has rarely come up at the Republican convention this week.
Giuliani’s background as New York City’s mayor
Known by many as “America’s mayor,” Giuliani was in charge of New York during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and praised at the time for his response. He is also known for the reduction of crime during his time in office from 1994 to 2001.
The controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing method in New York City, which has been heralded by Trump as part of his tough-on-crime message, began in the New York police department during Giuliani’s time in the mayor’s office.
Stop-and-frisk practices allow police to detain and search people on the basis of a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity — which has to be based on “specific and articulable facts” — even though critics say officers might not have specific evidence of a crime being committed.
Critics of the practice say it causes racial profiling and disproportionately affects minorities, as a U.S. District Court judge ruled it did under the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program.
“Now today my city is in shock,” Giuliani said. “Murders, shootings and violent crime are increasing at percentages unheard of in the past. We are seeing the return of rioting and looting.”
Giuliani and the impeachment proceedings
Giuliani, who has been one of the president’s most ardent defenders since the 2016 campaign, emerged as a key figure during the impeachment proceedings against Trump, alleged to have a key role in trying to smear political rivals that include Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Giuliani’s involvement in the effort to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rivals in Ukraine was detailed by witnesses during the impeachment proceedings against the president.
The former mayor sought to revive the debunked theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
Giuliani and other Trump allies have alleged that Biden used his position as vice president to help his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company. No evidence has emerged that Biden took action in office to benefit his son; Biden’s push to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor was in line with anti-corruption efforts at the time.
Giuliani and business partners Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman pushed for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Witnesses said the president’s lawyer was leading a so-called “shadow” foreign policy effort along with other nontraditional players in Ukraine to advance the president’s cause of investigating Biden.