Any New Yorker over twenty-five at the time of the the destruction of the Twin Towers should instantly know the target and the author of the title quip. Some may forget that Joe Biden coined the phrase. Everyone should recognize that it’s about Rudy Giuliani, who adopted the title of “America’s Mayor” in the aftermath of that tragedy. Rudy donned the funereal robes and hung the wreaths for the fallen First Responders. He wrapped himself in our battered flag and trudged across the finish line of his administration in November 1991. Rudy spread the scorched remains of the victims and the twisted steel wreckage of the buildings as the foundation of his intended run for President. Giuliani had nothing to offer when his turn came in 2008. He barely showed up. When he did, he fell back on those glorious and terrible autumn days in 2001, which he parlayed into a myth of heroism. Biden pointed out that every sentence Rudy spoke followed the pattern in the above title. Thus the door slammed shut on Giuliani’s political aspirations.
New Yorkers were better acquainted with the real Rudy, the law and order mayor, whose two terms were marked by some of the most infamous and perverse cases of police misconduct in our country’s history. Google the names of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo if you want a good look at the reptilian brute; a dysfunctional freak, who barbarously presided over the breakup of his marriage in full, public view. His brutal treatment of the African-American community led to divisiveness and civil unrest that rivaled Ferguson. New Yorkers were relieved to see his tail lights in our collective rear view mirror.
His featured spot on the first night of the Republican National Convention was reliving the Rudy trauma. My PTSD kicked into overdrive when he swore that he, with the aid of President Donald J. Trump, would rain down destruction and chaos on our enemies. “You know who you are!” he said, finger poking somewhere in the direction of a mosque in downtown Brooklyn. “You can’t beat your enemy if you can’t call them by name.” “Islamist Extremist Terrorists,” he wailed in full prosecutorial squawk. When I was a boy, I was regularly beaten up by kids who couldn’t pronounce my name, let alone spell it. It didn’t seem to stand in their way.
Giuliani is a reactionary posing as a Conservative. This is the telling sign of Trump’s establishment supporters. Giuliani was all fire and brimstone, extolling the virtues of Trump and attacking the failures of Barack Obama. He promised that Donald J. Trump would find the enemy, name them and crush them.
“What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” That’s exactly what I’m afraid of.