In a virtual press conference Thursday attended by fewer than 30 people-including the PR consultants hosting the event-former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani compared his son, who is hoping to be elected New York's GOP candidate for governor next week, to Donald Trump, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and…himself.
Giuliani, who appeared to encounter brief technical issues when logging onto the sparsely populated Zoom meeting, described Andrew, 36, as "tough as nails," boasting that his boy had been endorsed by Trump cronies and convicted felon Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon, who was charged with felony fraud in 2021 but pardoned by Trump hours before the ex-president left office. However, Giuliani also said that Trump's endorsement could potentially be detrimental to Andrew's already slim chances, claiming that Trump has withheld his blessing out of his own benevolence.
In rambling remarks that focused primarily on his own accomplishments running New York City, Giuliani took a page from today's far-right playbook, targeting liberal businessman and philanthropist George Soros as the root of all problems facing the U.S. today.
"This crime wave is bought, paid for, and brought to you by George Soros, who is the chief funder of Black Lives Matter, pro-killing police organizations antifa, the pro-killing white organization, and the Democrat party that just says that you're all racist," Giuliani said.
He called Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul "pro-criminal," arguing disingenuously that she and "her friends in Albany…create crime." He also claimed he was the only person who could fix things, before quickly seeming to remember that it was his son, not him, in the race.
"Give me two weeks with Adams, I'll bring crime down in the city," Giuliani said during the half-hour appearance, referencing recently elected Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD supervisor. "You give Andrew two weeks, he will [too]."
Calling Jan. 6 Select Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)-who has nothing to do with the upcoming primary-a "massive liar," Giuliani said his son Andrew-whose entire professional political career to date consists of working as the Trump administration's "sports liaison"-was "the only one who can do for New York State what I did for New York City."
"It's what a Reagan can do, it's what a Trump can do, it's what an 'I' can do," he said, bringing the conversation back to himself. "It's what the others can't do."
But when asked how his own success as mayor translates into his son's qualifications to serve as governor, Giuliani threw attendees a wild curve.
"Well, it is true-he was a child during most of my tenure," the former mayor replied. "But I don't know, do you consider a 15, 16, 17-year-old a child? He worked with me on those things when I was mayor. Not only that, he worked with me after that. You don't know this because the press doesn't really report much about me anymore because I'm for Trump."
Of Andrew's age and relative lack of political experience, Giuliani argued that perhaps his son is "too young to think he can't do it."
"That was true of Teddy Roosevelt, who was only, like, about six months old when he became governor," he continued. "That was true of me. They thought I was too young… You don't go by age… I mean, with Trump and Biden, one should be in a nursing home and the other guy looks like he could run the world."
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Andrew Giuliani was barred by NY1 and CBS from appearing in-person at two of three debates during primary season over his unvaccinated status. On Tuesday, the candidate was permitted to participate in a debate sponsored by right-wing channel Newsmax-which has faced defamation lawsuits over parroting Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 election being "rigged."
During his campaign, Andrew Giuliani has pointed to himself as the most conservative candidate on the ballot, coming out against abortion rights and continuing to insist, wrongly, that Trump won the last election. Last week, he held a fundraiser at Trump's golf club in New Jersey.
Among Democrats, Hochul is expected to win handily on Tuesday, beating Rep. Tom Suozzi and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in the polls. Among Republicans, Mike Pence-endorsed Rep. Lee Zeldin is considered to be the frontrunner, although the race, which also includes businessman Harry Wilson and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, is still very much in play, according to experts.
"Lee Zeldin is the unequivocal frontrunner," GOP consultant Chapin Fay told the Gotham Gazette. "He's got virtually the entire state Republican Party infrastructure working on his behalf, and regardless of polling and advertising, that is a massive advantage that will be difficult for the others to overcome."
Much of Zeldin's support comes from upstate, while Giuliani is doing well in New York City and the Hudson Valley, according to a poll released earlier this week. Still, Hochul is projected to win November's general election by up to 27 points.
On his campaign website, Andrew Giuliani says he wants to "hand the power back into the hands of parents when it comes to their children's education. That also includes parents' choices on masking and vaccination-a decision that should not be made by the government or school districts."
Of this, Rudy said on Thursday that parents need to be able to say, "I'm sorry, you cannot bring a crossdresser into a five-year-old's class and start teaching them about crossdressing. Sorry, you do that in my school, my kid's out of that school, and I go to war with the school district."
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The candidate's dad also touched on topics such as the future of fracking in New York ("The fracking [opposition] is bull. It's part of a green strategy to make us… communist. And bankrupt."), corruption ("Albany's a cesspool. Andrew is great at cleaning out cesspools."), and Thursday's Supreme Court decision on concealed carry, which hinged on a case involving two New York men who were turned down for unrestricted gun permits ("Which was the ruling today? I just got out of a long, long podcast.").
Of course, one of several elephants in the room concerned Donald Trump's endorsement-or lack of-so far in the race, which will be decided on Tuesday. So far, Trump's endorsements have translated into both wins and losses in other primaries. To this, Giuliani admitted, "I think Trump wonders if he would help or hurt… He is not sure whether his entry here helps or hurts."
He also strayed from GOP orthodoxy in asking supporters to vote early, pointing to his own personal experience with the practice in the 2020 election.
"I know Republicans don't like that very much," he said. "We believe in one-day voting, we believe in paper ballots. I do. But since they have early voting, do it. I did it last time, because I had to work on the campaign for my friend Donald Trump."
He then warned New Yorkers that his son was apparently the only candidate worthy of leading them into the future.
"You're gonna make a terrible mistake if you don't nominate him," the former mayor said. "And you can come and torture me if I'm wrong. You can come and torture me if he doesn't turn this state around in two or three years. It'll be what I did, it'll be what Trump did, it'll be what Reagan did."
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