Rudy Giuliani: From America’s mayor to Trump’s closest ally
Rudy Giuliani is mainly known for his association with former US President Donald Trump. However, this was not always the case. Giuliani rose from New York City politics to become ‘America’s mayor’ during 9/11. Once seen as a presidential hopeful for whom the White House was a logical next step, this is his story.
Rudolph Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York. The only child of a couple of second-generation Italian immigrants, Giuliani’s father worked as a bartender, plumber, and —some argue, such as magazine The Nation— an enforcer for a loan shark connected with the mafia.
Pictured: Giuliani and his mother Helen Giuliani during his mayoral sworn-in in 1994.
The future mayor of New York studied Political Science and Philosophy at Manhattan College. A 1986 TIME magazine profile reveals that Giuliani briefly considered becoming a priest before choosing to start a career in Law, graduating from the New York University School of Law with the highest honors in 1968.
Pictured: Rudy Giuliani during a 9/11 memorial mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in September 2021.
Giuliani began working on the Department of Justice at a federal level during the Ford Administration, switching to a law buffet during the Carter years.
When Ronald Reagan became US President in 1981 the future New York mayor was named Associate Attorney General, the third-highest position within the United States Department of Justice.
Giuliani abandoned the federal-level position in 1983 to become US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. A profile made by TIME magazine in 1986 points out that, though technically it was a demotion, this gave the Republican politician lots of clout within the city.
After all, the Southern District of New York covers the jurisdictions of Manhattan and the Bronx is well-known for dealing with cases involving Wall Street and organized crime. It's probably the highest-profile District Attorney’s Office in the country.
The future mayor of New York soon became well-known for his fight against drug dealers, Wall Street white-collar criminals, government corruption, and organized crime.
Image: New York Stock Exchange, popularly known as Wall Street, in the 1980s.
Among other things, the future mayor was credited with popularizing the “Perp Walk”. Having police officers making arrests in public places so the press, who Giuliani contacted beforehand, could take pictures of the suspects, regardless if they had evidence to press charges or not.
Giuliani first ran for mayor in 1989 against David Dinkins. At the time, Giuliani was seen as a moderate Republican, supporting progressive policies such as affirmative action, gay rights, and gun control.
In the end, the conservative district attorney lost in one of the closest mayoral races in the history of New York City. However, rising crime, racial tension, and rampant unemployment didn’t make things easy for Dinkins, allowing Giuliani to take over City Hall in 1993.
The Republican politician has proven to be a controversial figure in New York City history. His ‘tough on crime’ policies have proven successful in turning the Big Apple from one of the most dangerous cities in America to one of the safest.
At the same time, he’s seen as giving a disproportionate amount of power to the police and beginning a process of gentrification in Time Square. This was derided by the press, such as The Chicago Tribune, as turning the area into ‘Disney’s living room’.
However, Giuliani truly became famous around the globe during one of the most critical moments in recent US history. He was mayor of New York during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
For his leadership during this time, Giuliani earned the nickname ‘America’s mayor’. He was named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year in 2001 and granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.
Giuliani originally had thought of running in the 2000 New York Senate Election against Hillary Clinton. His divorce from Donna Hanover and his battle with prostate cancer ultimately dissuaded him from running.
The former New York City mayor tried to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Though enjoying at first the biggest support and name recognition among the candidates, his hopes quickly evaporated. Giuliani ultimately endorsed John McCain, who would lose against Barack Obama.
Giuliani would return to US politics in 2016, campaigning heavily for fellow New Yorker Donald Trump’s bid for the White House.
The New York Times wrote at the time that Giuliani was seen as a likely candidate for a cabinet position, particularly Secretary of State, but he ultimately became merely an advisor to President Trump.
As part of Donald Trump’s legal team, Giuliani urged the Ukrainian government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.
Bloomberg reports that the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the office Giuliani once spearheaded, began investigating him for violating lobbying laws.
According to the January 6 House Committee, Giuliani has also been proven to be pivotal in Donald Trump’s strategy to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election through a series of lawsuits on voting irregularities across the United States.
The former New York mayor was also a speaker at the Save America rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, which ultimately led to Trump supporters storming the Capitol.
The New York Times reports that Rudy Giuliani’s law license was suspended in June 2021 over his “demonstrably false and misleading statements” defending Trump’s claims of electoral fraud. One month later, his license was suspended in Washington, D.C. Quite a fall from grace from the man who was once hailed as ‘America’s mayor’.