With his response to the murders of two New York City police officers, Rudy Giuliani falls far from the respect and admiration he once owned as mayor of that city.
On Fox News Sunday, Giuliani linked the execution-style murders of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos to protests that broke out across the city following a grand jury’s failure to indict a police officer for killing Eric Garner. And he blamed political leaders from President Obama to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for inciting anti-police sentiment by supposedly encouraging the protests.
“We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police,” said Giuliani. “The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence . . . all of them lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”
What is completely wrong is Giuliani’s take on the deaths of those two police officers, who, according to New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, were “quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform and for the responsibility they embraced to keep the people of this city safe.”
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, is responsible for those targeted murders — not protesters who took to the streets after the Garner grand jury decision. And certainly not President Obama.
A sick and sickening act of violence committed by one man is one kind of outrage. A two-tiered justice system based on skin color is another kind. That’s what protesters were trying to highlight when they took to the streets, and that’s what Obama rightly addressed as president.
Giuliani should recognize that perceived injustice is an American issue, not a black or white issue. And he certainly should understand what it’s like to be second-guessed.
He was the mayor who walked the streets of lower Manhattan after the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001, “his head and shoulders dusted white with ash,” as the New York Times reported. His words in the aftermath of that tragedy helped unite a city and a country in the face of terrible tragedy. Yet afterwards, he was criticized for lack of preparation for a terrorist attack, as well as for grandstanding.
Surely he, of all people, knows that tragedy can unite or divide. With this current tragedy, he chose to fan the flames of division.
That’s a sad agenda for a leader once hailed as “America’s mayor.”