Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended his comments that “I do not believe that the president loves America” on Thursday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.
When asked if he wanted to apologize for the comments, he responded “not at all. I want to repeat it. the reality is, I — from all that I can see of this president, all that I’ve heard of him, he apologizes for America, he criticizes America.”
Kelly then asked, “but to say that he doesn’t love America, I mean, that he could view foreign policy as a Democrat might view it and through a different lens than you, a Republican might see it, you can understand the differences between you, but to condemn his patriotism, to question his love of America?”
Giuliani continued, “I’m not condemning his patriotism — patriots can criticize. They’re allowed to criticize. I don’t hear from him what I heard from Harry Truman, what I heard from Bill Clinton, what I heard from Jimmy Carter, which is these wonderful words about what a great country we are, what an exceptional country we are. When he called us an exceptional country, he said we’re an exceptional country, but so is Greece.”
Kelly responded, “doesn’t mean he doesn’t love America, a lot of liberals don’t believe in American Exceptionalism, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love America.”
Giuliani continued to defend his comments, saying “I don’t feel it. I don’t feel this love of america. I think this man was — when I talked about his background, I’m talking about a man who grew up under the influence of Frank Marshall Davis who was a member of the Communist Party, who he refers to over and over in his book, was a tremendous critic of the United States. This is a man who worked under Saul Alinsky, who was a tremendous critic of the United States. I believe his initial approach is to criticize this country, and then afterwards to say a few nice things about us.”
Kelly again pressed, “but when you say he wasn’t raised to love America, I mean, he was raised in part by his grandparents, his grandfather served in World War II, his grandmother worked in a munitions plant to help the nation during World War II. I mean, to suggest he was raised by people who don’t love America or didn’t help him learn to love America.”
Giuliani argued, “well, his grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis,” to which Kelly again responded “he fought in World War II.” Giuliani continued “okay. You can fight in world war II, and then you introduce someone to a Communist and the young boy gets…” Kelly then interjected “it’s a political world view. It’s not a hatred for the country,” which she later clarified was a reference to President Obama’s grandfather.
Giuliani then asked Kelly if she would continue to attend a church run by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to which Kelly said “it’s not about me.”
Kelly did acknowledge that many of Giuliani’s critics were not critical of President Obama calling George W. Bush’s fiscal policy “unpatriotic,” back in 2008, but then asked Giuliani about his reaction to an ad by MoveOn.org that referred to General David Petraeus as “General Betray Us.” Back in 2007, when the ad ran, Giuliani said was a “despicable attack” that Hillary Clinton should “disown and condemn.” And that “these times call for statesmanship, not politicians spewing political venom,” and wondered “what kind of civility is that?” Kelly then asked, “so I ask you the same thing, what kind of civility is that?”
Giuliani responded, “I think it was perfectly civil. I think that is a perfectly reasonable opinion, but the president and his comments, if we look at all of his rhetoric has not displayed the kind of love of America, the kind of love of American Exceptionalism that other American presidents have displayed, that he has gone abroad and criticized us over and over again, apologized for us. Every time he does it, it embarrasses me. I was in Europe a lot this summer and this fall, and all I heard about is the bigoted American police departments, and I never heard the President of the United States defend the policemen of America, 800,000 of which put their lives on the line for us.”
Giuliani concluded, by arguing that his comments did not hurt the GOP, and that “last time all the candidates for president wanted me removed from office was when I fought the RICO case against the Teamsters Union the only one who didn’t was George Bush, and that case was just settled successfully after 30 years of changing the Teamsters Union. I’m right about this, I have no doubt about it, I do not withdraw my words. If the president goes and makes a speech and talks about what a great country this is, if the president could complete the following sentence, ‘during the Crusades the Christians were barbarians and so were the Muslims,’ if the president could say ‘Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is our enemy,’ I will applaud the president. But until he does that, I will have doubts about his emotions, his feelings, his attitudes and the way in which he developed [them].”
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