Rudy Giuliani Was Always This Rotten

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was an authoritarian thug long before he teamed up with Donald Trump.

Steven Wishnia Sep 18

Your tits belong to me. 
These are mine, you got it? 
Understand? I’m very fucking possessive. I’ve gone easy on you. 

That, according to Noelle Dunphy, is what Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor turned Donald Trump henchman, told her.

She is now suing him for $10 million, claiming that when he hired her as an assistant in 2019, promising her $1 million a year, he made it clear that sex with him was one of her job duties — and two years later, fired her after paying her only $12,000.

Repulsive? Yes. But it confirms what many New Yorkers have long suspected: There was no way someone who was that much of a bully in public wasn’t an abusive control freak in private.

Yes, Giuliani’s story has been cast as tragedy, the fall from “America’s Mayor” and the heroic crime-buster who tamed “Fear City” to the buffoon who stood in a strip-mall parking lot in Philadelphia raving that Democrats had cheated Donald Trump out of victory in 2020 with dead people’s ballots. He’s now out on bail, facing 13 felony charges in Georgia that he conspired to nullify Joseph Biden’s election with lies, ­intimidation and shyster chicanery.

The legend of Giuliani as an icon of urban renaissance and post-9/11 resilience is largely based on myth. He’s been an authoritarian, racist bully for decades. 

In September 1992, 29 years before the MAGA mob invaded the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College’s vote for Biden, several thousand off-duty police officers, enraged by Mayor David Dinkins’ plan to have an independent civilian board review complaints of police misconduct, tried to storm City Hall. The cops blocked traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, rocking cars and jumping on them. 

Giuliani once declared “freedom is about authority.”

They were virtually all white, and many were drinking. Some carried caricatures depicting Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, engaged in various sex acts. One blocked Brooklyn City Councilmember Una Clarke from crossing the street to City Hall, calling her a “[racial slur] who says she’s a councilmember.”

Giuliani, speaking through a bullhorn on top of a car near City Hall, riled up the crowd, slamming Dinkins’ policies and leading a chant of “Bullshit! Bullshit!”

A Black transit cop named Eric Adams told reporters that it was “a drunk, racist lynch mob.”

The cornerstone of the Giuliani legend is that his policy of arresting thousands of people for minor offenses is what caused the dramatic drop in crime in New York in the 1990s. In reality, it probably had more to do with Police Commissioner William Bratton using computers to pinpoint crime hotspots and Mayor Dinkins lining up funding to hire 6,000 more cops — who didn’t hit the street until after Giuliani took office in ‘94. 

Giuliani’s method was to arrest 19 people guilty of nothing more than drinking beer or bicycle-riding violations in order to nab one with an outstanding felony warrant. His myth is that only he had the guts to do what had to be done against the “element” — a racial euphemism of the era inevitably prefaced by “I’m not prejudiced, but…” 

By his second term, he had made pot-smoking a top police priority. In 2000, 70,000 people, 85% of them black or ­Latino, were arrested for marijuana possession in public. These charges were usually too petty for jail sentences, but people busted often had to spend 24 to 48 hours in a holding tank. (As a Justice Department official in Ronald Reagan’s administration, Giuliani had made marijuana a bigger priority than heroin, with paramilitary raids on farmers in California.)

The Giuliani administration also pioneered many of the draconian police tactics used against protests in the 21st century: preemptive mass arrests, penning, paramilitary evictions of squats and helicopters hovering over peaceful protests. In 1998, he had subway service to central Harlem shut off on the afternoon of a relatively small rally by a Black supremacist offshoot of the Nation of Islam.

In December 1999, he tried to have homeless children taken away from their parents on the grounds that simply being homeless was evidence of neglect — which inspired the Rev. Al Sharpton to declare at a Union Square rally, “If Giuliani had been the mayor of Bethlehem, he would have said Joseph and Mary were unfit parents and put the baby Jesus into foster care.”

And, beginning in the late ’90s, he enforced a Prohibition-era cabaret law that banned dancing in bars without a special license, giving them $1,500 fines if three or more people were dancing to the jukebox.

“Freedom is about authority,” he once declared. 

New Yorkers had soured on that by early 1999, after the police killing of Amadou Diallo. Giuliani’s support had always been racially polarized. His races against Dinkins in 1989 and 1993 were both close citywide, but he got less than one-sixth of the vote in heavily Black districts, generally less than one-third in Latino ones and more than five-sixths in overwhelmingly white areas. 

White voters carried him to reelection in 1997. But the killing of Diallo, an unarmed Guinean peddler shot 41 times while reaching for his wallet after cops shouted for him to show ID, catalyzed attitudes that Giuliani had gone too far. The killing of Patrick Dorismond in 2000, shot after he angrily told an aggressive undercover cop that he didn’t sell weed, punctured Giuliani’s political future — along with him announcing that he was seeking a divorce on TV before he’d informed his wife. 

Giuliani cashed in on his post-9/11 celebrity, but was unable to parlay it into a Cabinet post, and his 2008 presidential campaign flamed out. The anti-marijuana crusader regularly overserved himself Scotch. 

He has now cast himself as a heterosexual Roy Cohn, a mob-lawyer mouthpiece and consigliere for an iconic conman and wannabe dictator. Yes, his brand was “tough on crime,” but which side was he on when he egged on rogue white cops assailing City Hall and schemed to have fake electors reinstall Trump?

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