Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned to the campaign trail this afternoon with Joe Lhota, his protégé and candidate in the mayor’s race, and proclaimed that yesterday’s decision by a federal appeals court to halt the implementation of stop-and-frisk reform would fundamentally shake things up in Mr. Lhota’s favor.
“The whole rationale for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign is phony,” declared Mr. Giuliani, speaking to reporters this afternoon in Staten Island. “This has been the whole rationale for his campaign, his stop-and-frisk … ‘The police department’s terrible. The police department’s awful. They’re stopping all these people for no reason.’”
“The court of appeals has just basically said to him: that is a bunch of malarkey,” he later declared. “I hope it had a dramatic effect on the race.”
Mr. Giuliani, who hired Mr. Lhota as his budget director and later promoted him to become his “right-hand” man, went on to charge Democratic mayoral nominee Bill de Blasio misled the public and demanded an apology.
“For this man to campaign them the way he did, to suggest they were engaged in unconstitutional conduct … I would, as the former mayor of the city, demand that Mr. de Blasio apologize to the police department for falsely suggesting that they engage in unconstitutional conduct,” he said. (The appeals court, which stayed a lower court’s ruling, has not yet weighed in on the actual constitutionality of the city’s stop-and-frisk program.)
Mr. Giuliani also doubled down on Mr. Lhota’s message that a Mayor de Blasio would return the city to the high crime of the 80′s, noting that the last time Mr. be Blasio was in City Hall–as an aide to former Mayor David Dinkins–the city was plagued with more than 2,000 murders a year.
“I’ll remind the people of Staten Island: You wanted to secede. You wanted to leave New York City, things were so bad, You voted to secede because of the work of the administration he was a part of and he wants to bring back. So this would be a disaster for New York City,” he said. “I don’t want people coming up to me six months from now saying, ‘Mayor, we made a terrible mistake. What are we going to do about our city?’ Because they are. Because crime is going to go up as dramatically as Joe predicts.”
“Vote for Joe Lhota now,” he urged.
Mr. Giuliani played a large role in Mr. Lhota’s primary campaign but has been largely absent since he secured the Republican nomination. And the former mayor jokingly suggested why today: “I said to Joe when he decided to run, ‘I’ll support or I’ll support your opponent, depending on which way helps you more.’” He did insist, however, he had been forcefully defending Mr. Lhota on outlets like Fox News and expressed confidence in his candidate, who remains nearly 40 points down in the polls with just four days until Election Day.
“I think he’s gonna to win the election,” he said. “I have confidence that Staten Island will vote for Joe Lhota.”
Update (3:14 p.m): At a hospital rally this afternoon, Mr. de Blasio dismissed Mr. Giuliani’s request for an apology.
“I’m not looking to him for advice on police-community relations,” he said, drawing cheers from supporters gathered on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall.