Rudy is in Conspiracy Nut Land

America's mayor talks like a snake oil salesman/conman.

“Trump and Rudy” by The White House is in the Public Domain, CC0

It is not a controversial statement to say that Rudy Giuliani no longer commands the general respect that he did in the days after 9/11 when he was among the most popular politicians in the country. While he has always been bombastic and self-promoting, his descent into being Trump’s henchman has squandered his capital with at least half the population.

And while I suspect that diehard Trump supporters will continue to see Rudy as an ally and perhaps only eccentric, it is difficult to listen to him nowadays and take him seriously in the least. He spoke to NPR’s Steve Inskeep of Morning Edition earlier this week and came across to me as even more of a con man and conspiracy theorist than ever.

To wit:



We spoke with Lamar Alexander, Republican senator from Tennessee, who’s voting for acquittal…


INSKEEP: …But says what the president did was inappropriate, that he did ask for Biden to be investigated and hopefully he won’t do that again. Is Lamar Alexander right?

GIULIANI: No, Lamar is wrong. And Lamar is a good friend of mine and he’s a fine man, except he doesn’t know all the facts. (Laughter) He only knows half of the facts, a lot of them distorted.


INSKEEP: …You said Lamar is wrong, so does that mean the president’s action was appropriate?

GIULIANI: But I understand why Lamar is wrong. He doesn’t understand the facts. Nobody has had…

I don’t trust people who claim to have “all the facts” and that “nobody” else has. If one has the truth, then share it. But in a world in which secrets are exceedingly hard to keep, the notion that One Very Special Attorney has all the facts is impossible to accept save by very naive people who already want to believe it.

And, for that matter, if Rudy has the facts, why not share them far and wide if those facts are, in fact, good for his supposed boss (whom he claims, in the interview, not to have talked to lately).

Cult leaders and con men claim to have truth that can’t be shared, at least not until the time is right! (Also people trying to gin up interest in a podcast so that the advertising dollars will come rolling in).

And, by the way, the stakes in regards to a Biden investigation have ramped up considerably!

GIULIANI: Biden should be investigated, absolutely, 100%…

INSKEEP: And the president should be involved in that?

GIULIANI: …For the crime of multiple bribery.

Who knew?

The interview ends with the following bizarre interchange sparked by the mention of former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Harris:

INSKEEP: …And that you’ve taken an excellent career and made yourself a joke.

GIULIANI: Well, Jeffrey is wrong. Jeffrey – I haven’t seen Jeffrey in 20 years. Jeffrey has no idea of the facts that I have. It’s always a good idea to know the facts before you comment. He has no idea the witnesses I have. He has no idea that I have smoking guns like this. He has no idea that I may even have tape recordings.

INSKEEP: Wait a minute. You may even have tape recordings?

GIULIANI: I may even have tape recordings.

INSKEEP: You cannot leave that dangling, either you do or you don’t, sir.

GIULIANI: Well, I haven’t gotten them yet.


GIULIANI: They’ve been offered to me, haven’t seen them.

This is Alex Jonesesque.

This all just so very, very strange.

(But I repeat myself).

Why anyone takes him seriously, I cannot understand. And yet, he has been allowed to act as the agent of the President of the United States in a foreign country.

In other words, while there are plenty of sketchy folks of varying political stripes who populate the mass media environment trying to make a buck, it is normally unusual for such a person to be the president’s personal attorney.

This really is the kind of thing that ought to make a lot of Republicans more uncomfortable than it does.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. mattbernius says:

    This article from the Daily Beast on a leaked Fox News memo seems pretty on topic:

    The 162-page document, entitled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” was created by Fox News senior political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy, who produces research from what is known as the network’s Brain Room—a newsroom division of researchers who provide information, data, and topic guides for the network’s programming.


    The document also disputes the credibility of Trump personal attorney and frequent Fox News guest Rudy Giuliani. While the former New York mayor has regularly appeared on Fox to justify his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter on Trump’s behalf, Murphy claims Giuliani is easily fooled by Ukrainian disinformation.

    Murphy writes that Giuliani has a “high susceptibility to disinformation” disseminated by Ukrainians like Lutsenko and Firtash. The document notes that two indicted Giuliani pals, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, had “strong reported financial links to Firtash.”

    “Reading the timeline in its entirety—not a small task—makes clear the extensive role played by Rudy Giuliani and his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, in spreading disinformation,” Murphy writes.

  2. Kurtz says:


    I wish they would publish the whole thing. I would read it.

    I would also like to see other Brain Room products–it would be fun to fact check the opinion shoes with their own network’s documents.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This really is the kind of thing that ought to make a lot of Republicans more uncomfortable than it does.

    And yet it doesn’t. That fact alone defines this era of alternative facts. Half of America is on a runaway crazy train and the other half can’t change that no matter how hard it tries.

  4. de stijl says:

    It’s not half of America. Most of us don’t care that much.

    Frankly, half of America couldn’t pick out Giuliani over Regular Sized Rudy in a six pack.

    We are anomalous. We care.

    Those that don’t might have a better understanding. That which doesn’t involve me or mine is not my interest.

    Perfectly valid, and quite adaptive reasoning.

    The so-called uninterested may be studiously uninterested by choice.

  5. James Joyner says:

    As with Trump, I strongly suspect serious cognitive decline, if not dementia.

    Granting that my politics have shifted over the last twenty years, Guiliani was once rather formidable. He came to prominence as a US Attorney who successfully prosecuted top mob bosses and then ran the nation’s most populous city, acquitting himself quite well in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    That he became a grifter after his political career collapsed isn’t shocking. That’s he’s this guy, though, certainly is.

  6. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: If you lived in NYC during the Dinkins and Giuliani administrations, you would be less surprised.

    Here are a few highlights:
    Leading a riot of racist police
    – Had his marriage annulled when he “discovered” (after 14 years) that his wife was his second cousin. I guess they never discussed their families
    – Announced to the press that he was divorcing his second wife before telling her
    – The ferret rant
    – overruled his task force and put the NYPD terrorism coordination office in the World Trade Center, leading to … problems.
    – Wanted to postpone the election in 2001 and stay on as Mayor indefinitely.

    He’s always been colorful. And by colorful I mean a racist authoritarian asshole who makes terrible decisions, has trouble with compartmentalization, and hates ferrets.

  7. de stijl says:

    I would vote for Regular Sized Rudy over Giuliani any day of the year, and Regular Sized Rudy is a cartoon character.

    Giuliani fell hard. So really hard.

    The down side of his fall is we can’t make Rudy Can’t Fail jokes anymore invoking The Clash and “A Message To You Rudy” a la The Specials.

    (I snuck The Specials into the mix in 1980 at a high school dance and no one noticed.)

  8. de stijl says:


    I don’t dislike ferrets per se, but people who chose to walk ferrets are arguably attention seekers who may or may not be committed to animal companion principles.

    Things may have changed since then, but ferret walking folks in that era were attention seeking dicks who cared eff all about the actual ferret.

    I know attention seeking with hair and clothes. I didn’t hijack an innocent critter into the mix.

  9. @de stijl: These are important points that we all should keep in mind while we evaluate this stuff.

    For example: I recently had a very educated person ask who Mayor Pete was. This person has a very time consuming job and clearly only pays modest attention to the news.

  10. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Is Giuliani truly as crazy as some of his statements sound? Or is he just trying to be buddy-buddy with the president, so Trump won’t be the only one accused of wild rhetoric? I have no clue.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kurtz:..I would also like to see other Brain Room products–it would be fun to fact check the opinion shoes with their own network’s documents.

    Fox Network opinion shoes.

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    All I can say is that talking like that seems to earn Alex Jones a lot of money…

  13. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Did you see the vid of the woman who was told Buttigieg was a gay man and freaked?

    The whole electorate votes. (Sorry for the circular reasoning.) We, here, are anomalous. Paying inordinate attention does not get you VIP status where your vote counts extra.

    People who have paid a lot, some, or no attention vote unweighted.

  14. Cheryl Rofer says:

    Whatever the state of Rudy’s mind, the fact is that he has been running around Ukraine to put the President’s extortion plot into action, along with his henchmen (or does the relationship go in the other direction?) Lev Parnas and Igor Furman.

    We need to know more about the backgrounds of these three – who is paying them and what other connections they have.

  15. @de stijl: @Steven L. Taylor: @de stijl:

    By the way, this is why I often stress that it is not as outlandish or outrageous as it seems that a lot of Republicans voted for Trump in the last election, and will do so in the next. They rely very heavily not on all the details we discuss daily here, but rather use party label as a signalling device. And, as I also stress, with only two truly viable choices, that signalling device is extremely powerful.


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