Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani sat down for a surprising and surprisingly frank interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity last week, and pundits from left to right found themselves asking the same question: “Is Rudy Giuliani all there?” That’s how Spectator USA editor Freddy Gray succinctly put it in his piece analyzing the interview, and others followed suit as the most high-profile addition to President Donald Trump’s legal team continued his television tour.
But I suspected Giuliani’s strategy of shock and awe—which, as Freddy wrote, “sent the media into paroxysms”—was purposeful and perhaps perspicacious. A bold counterattack like the one Giuliani launched as soon as he took on the job it seemed no one else in the country wanted might just be the thing to shake up Washington and finally bring Robert Mueller’s probe to a conclusion. Other Trump lawyers seem to have agreed with their boss that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” but Giuliani was the only one who declared, almost immediately, that his goal was to see it to a quick end.
After Giuliani sat down for more revealing interviews this weekend, publications like the Washington Post and Politico suggested that his days in the position are numbered. Many media outlets continued to question the 73-year-old Giuliani’s age and fitness for what’s currently the toughest job in Washington (after the president’s, of course). But he seemed in real fighting form when I spoke to him over the weekend—and it seems clear now, with Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, that Giuliani very much has the president’s ear.
On Saturday, Giuliani gave one of the keynote addresses at the Organization of Iranian American Communities’ 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights and Democracy here in Washington. His speech was remarkable—and not because it seemed unhinged. On the contrary, Giuliani sounded clear and confident as he discussed his support for the resistance to Iran’s murderous mullahs over the last decade. He declared that Trump is “a president as committed to regime change as we are” and strongly hinted that Trump would do what he indeed did just three days later—completely exit the Iran nuclear deal.
Holding up a piece of paper as he mentioned the agreement, Giuliani started to tear it up and then—in a typically dramatic gesture from the former prosecutor who made his name going after the mob—made motions of spitting on it.
Talking to reporters after his speech, Giuliani wouldn’t say outright that the deal was done. “I don’t mix my role as an attorney for him with my foreign policy views. He knows my views from the time of the campaign. I know his views,” he said. But he added, referring to Trump’s latest national security adviser: “He’s surrounded by really terrific foreign policy advisers and I would guess John Bolton’s view is no different today than it was a year ago. Which is that this agreement reached is one of the worst reached in American history. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime has already received the benefits.”
Those thoughts were echoed in Trump’s strongly delivered speech at the White House today announcing his decision to withdraw from the deal. The president noted that Barack Obama sent “many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash” to a regime whose government and its proxies have been responsible for the deaths of many Americans over the years. Trump, taking a personal tone, declared that was “an embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”
In response to one of my questions to him on Saturday, Giuliani had this to say about the leaders of Iran: “You can’t placate them. They’re murderers, they’re killers, they’re thieves, they’re corrupt.” Trump said much the same thing in his speech today. “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail,” the president stated. “We will not let a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ gain access to the deadliest weapons on earth.”
Giuliani also noted that, contrary to the arguments of its proponents, the nuclear deal has not brought any peace or stability to the Middle East. Trump agreed, summarizing his view of the deal thusly: “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Giuliani found time amidst the media blitz to join Trump for a few hours of golf on Sunday. The next day, the president announced he would make his decision on the Iran nuclear deal known on Tuesday. The press corps might consider taking Rudy Giuliani a bit more seriously from here on out.