NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (UPI) — Rudy Giuliani has penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed following a string of controversial comments he made last week questioning President Barack Obama’s patriotism.
“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart,” the former New York City mayor wrote Sunday in the Wall Street Journal.
“My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani sparked a barrage of criticism last Wednesday when he questioned Obama’s love for America.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during a dinner for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Giuliani stood by his remarks when critics suggested that his reference to the president’s upbringing had prejudiced undertones.
“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Giuliani told The New York Times on Thursday. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
Giuliani also told The New York Post on Saturday that Obama was raised by communists and socialists.
“He was educated by people who were critics of the U.S. And he has not been able to overcome those influences,” Giuliani said.
In his op-ed, Giuliani said the “bluntness” of his words “overshadowed” their meaning.
“Irrespective of what a president may think or feel, his inability or disinclination to emphasize what is right with America can hamstring our success as a nation,” he added. “This is particularly true when a president is seen, as President Obama is, as criticizing his country more than other presidents have done, regardless of their political affiliation.”
He praised other American presidents, such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who “acknowledged America’s flaws, but always led with a fundamental belief in the country’s greatness and the example we set for the world.”
When asked Friday to respond to the former mayor’s comments, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: “I think, really, the only thing that I feel is to feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani today.”
“I can tell you that it’s sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly,” Earnest said.