First Impressions

As Rudy Giuliani ramps up his presidential operation, he’ll presumably be engaging in more and more retail politicking in the early primary states to win over donors and rank-and-filers who’ve never seen him up close. What’ll that be like?

Dipping back into the book Giuliani: Flawed or Flawless?, I came across some first impressions of him. But first, a warning: The following sample has been selected for amusement value, and is decidedly not reflective of the membership of the Republican Party.

Floy Abrams, who would later represent the Brooklyn Museum against Giuliani, remembered:

I was invited to have lunch with him by one his partners to welcome him back to the private bar [in 1989, when Mr. Giuliani joined White & Case]. He represented the [New York] Daily News, and we discussed some First Amendment issues. I don’t think that I or our First Amendment discussion, interested him very much; he was indifferent to claims of civil liberties and the First Amendment. I also thought that he thought civil liberties was for sissies. It’s not that he was against free speech or that it was his priority to destroy free speech in America, but that this was not the stuff of strong men. Walking away, I didn’t think any better of him than when the lunch had started.

Mark Green recalled:

“I lived at 444 East 86th Street [a high-rise cooperative apartment building in the Yorkville section of Manhattan’s Upper Easst Side] from 1980 to 1982, on the thirty-fourth floor; Rudy Giuliani lived at 444 East 86th Street on the thirty-fifth floor, in what, obviously, was a coincidence, so I saw him periodically in the building we both lived in before we became citywide officials. And I knew him as a prominent Justice Department attorney, and I was a consumer advocate. I thought, he looks like a can-do Republican.”

Jay Goldberg, an attorney who represented several clients prosecuted by Giuliani in 1988:

“It was the comb-over! I said to myself, Why couldn’t his wife tell him how stupid that is? So he’s bald. I’m happy that he’s “listened” to me [Mr. Giuliani has abandoned his comb-over for a more conventional style.] Now his only impediment is a speech defect, his lisp.”

— Azi Paybarah

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President