Former Mayor David Dinkins told the Observer that former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani—who deposed him from Gracie Mansion in 1993—campaigned vigorously for President-elect Donald Trump last year because he said “nice things” about him when he took Giuliani’s son golfing.
Last month, Giuliani—known to be hankering for the post of secretary of state—announced that he will not have a role in Trump’s incoming administration. The GOP ex-mayor has remained a vice chairman of Trump’s transition team, and the president-elect also recently selected him to serve as a top cybersecurity advisor after damning revelations of Russian government hackers’ interference in the election.
Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor and a Hillary Clinton supporter, said that Giuliani’s proclivity toward Trump began when the Queens-born businessman took the former U.S. Attorney’s son golfing and spoke favorably of Giuliani.
“Rudy likes Donald because he helped him with his son. Trump and Rudy’s son went golfing,” Dinkins told the Observer at the Black Agency Executives’ 40th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King celebration in Manhattan. “Trump said nice things about Rudy and that’s why Rudy likes Trump.”
When the Observer asked Dinkins to explain exactly what he meant, he said was simply passing along what his old rival had said to him.
“Rudy told me he likes Trump because Trump when he played golf with his son told Trump nice things about him, about Rudy,” Dinkins clarified. “Therefore that’s why he likes Trump and why he campaigned for him period.”
A spokeswoman for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Clinton took a jab at Giuliani at the Al Smith Dinner in October, saying that Giuliani started out as a prosecutor who went after wealthy New Yorkers who avoided paying taxes. She joked that, “If you can’t beat him, go on Fox News and call him a genius.” The former mayor appeared upset when the camera fixated on him.
Giuliani demurred over endorsing Trump before the New York primary in April, but eventually became one of his most most vocal surrogates. He lost to Dinkins in the 1989 mayoral election—one of the closest races in New York City history—but rode to victory four years later.
The former mayor said that he is aware that Giuliani will be helping the Trump administration with cybersecurity issues, but would not comment on Giuliani’s failure to secure a Cabinet post.
“I don’t make anything of that,” Dinkins added. “I’ll leave it to you of the Fourth Estate to interpret it.”
Most observers believe that the work Giuliani’s private consulting firm did for hostile foreign governments like Qatar and Venezuela damaged his bid to head the State Department. Reports also resurfaced that “America’s mayor” had given a paid speech for a banished Iranian political party that the U.S. government regards as a terrorist group.