Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the city through 9/11, accused some in Washington of being in “denial” about the risks posed by terrorism and said that Democrats too preoccupied with “liberal ideas” are putting public safety at risk.
Speaking at a fund-raiser for Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota last night, Mr. Giuliani, who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2008, said that New York City remains a target, and that government must be ever-vigilant to stave off the next attack.
“There are some people in Washington who–when we captured Bin Laden–thought that the War on Terror was over. They even announced that. I believe that some of these attacks that have taken place have taken place now because there is in Washington a process of denial, a process of not really understanding what is against us,” Mr. Giuliani told attendees at the Excelsior Grand in Staten Island, according to video of the remarks captured by blogger Jacob Kornbluh.
Mr. Giuliani said that New York City remains the No. 1 terror target in the country and needs a mayor who understands that risk.
“We need a mayor who is going to be very, very strong about this. We need a mayor who is not gonna be confused by so many of these liberal ideas that say, ‘Oh I don’t know, maybe we shouldn’t classify this person as an Islamic extremist terrorist. Maybe that will offend somebody if we do it,’” he said, criticizing the way the government handled the Fort Hood shooting, in particular.
Mr. Giuliani also slammed critics who want to do away the police department’s controversial with stop-and-frisk policy, and pointed to Chicago, with its far higher murder rate, as an example of what might happen if police tactics change.
“What we do that Chicago doesn’t do… [is] we aggressively enforce our laws to take guns out of the hands of criminals,” he said. “They, instead, are very, very careful. They’re very frightened. They’re very worried, very worried about rights: this right, that right, some other right. The only right they’re not thinking about is the right to be safe in your city,” he said, vowing that Mr. Lhota would keep current NYPD policies in place.
He argued that the same aggressive police tactics have also helped protect the city from terrorism–and guessed that police officers would have been stationed in the mosque that the elder Boston Marathon bombing suspect attended, listening to what was said as part of the NYPD’s controversial Muslim surveillance program.
“Another mayor of that other party might not have the courage to do that. Their political thinking is very different,” he said.
He further pointed to Mass. Governor Deval Patrick, whom he said had been “giving welfare” to the alleged bombers (the two brothers had reportedly received benefits as children, while the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and daughter had been on welfare until last year)–something he said would never have happened under his or Mr. Lhota’s watch. And he slammed Mr. Patrick for refusing to release certain records of suspects’ benefits “because he wants to protect the privacy of the terrorist murderers.”
“What kind of warped thinking is that?” he asked.
“When you start thinking like that, like this administration does, like many Democrats do, that’s what leads to the mistakes that then result in something like Boston, or something like Fort Hood, or something like the almost-attack on Times Square. When we don’t categorize these people properly, when we don’t say we’re going to have to put a lot of focus on them, and make sure that we keep our city safe,” he said.
He said that that kind of hesitancy puts people at risk.
“We realize most of these people are honest, decent people. But by the same token, we also realize that it isn’t just a few people that are Islamic extremists, it’s more than a few people,” he said.
“If we did that, who knows? Maybe people would be alive today that aren’t alive now,” he said. “That’s the kind of mayor we need.”
Mr. Giuliani touted Mr. Lhota’s performance in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when he said Mr. Lhota was by his side “virtually every day for 40 days” after the planes hit, playing an integral role in every decision they made.
“Joe is a man who has a lot of guts. And he’s got a lot of calm when things are tough. And he’s someone who will keep this city safe from Islamic extremist terrorists and keep this city safe from criminals,” he said.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.