On Tuesday this week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough brought up the (relatively) well known rumor that Rudy Giuliani hadn’t gotten the Trump cabinet position he initially wanted because he was “falling asleep five minutes into meetings” and was “drinking too much.” According to those who know him personally, Giuliani is a notorious figure in the smoky DC and New York bar scene, and is a self confessed “social drinker”.
Politico reported that before his catastrophic interview with Sean Hannity (where he incriminated his client by admitting Trump had known about Michael Cohen’s payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels), he was at the Grand Havana, a cigar and cocktail lounge in New York:
Giuliani said he thinks he was at the Grand Havana after his Hannity interview but couldn’t remember the specifics. “I sometimes go before,” he said. “I sometimes go after.”
Giuliani’s response to Scarborough’s charge during the Politico interview was predictably vitriolic, but coupled with his hazy response to his whereabouts, the former Mayor of New York may have unintentionally made speculation about his drinking habits more believable:
“None of that is true,” Giuliani said of Scarborough’s remarks in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “I’m not sleeping now. I’m in Dallas. I’m wide awake. I’ve handled numerous cases including some sensitive cyber matters. I’m a lot more aware and intelligent than Joe has ever been and a lot more accomplished. Joe hasn’t been knighted by the Queen of England. He hasn’t run a U.S. attorney’s office, much less a city that he turned around or went through 9/11.”
As for the allegations about his drinking, Giuliani acknowledged being a social drinker but said he doesn’t have alcohol early in the day.
“I’m not drinking for lunch,” he said. “I may have a drink for dinner. I like to drink with cigars.”
Let’s look at the evidence here. Firstly, Giuliani couldn’t remember whether he was at the bar before or after he went on Hannity’s show. According to the Politico piece, “two New York political insiders familiar with Giuliani’s activities said he was at the Grand Havana before his now-infamous Fox News interview with Sean Hannity.” This points to the likely scenario that Giuliani did go to the bar before he went on live television given he admits going there, can’t remember whether it was before or after, and witnesses have stated he went before the infamous interview.
Secondly, Giuliani’s vicious attack on Scarborough is the kind of tactic people use when accused of something they know they are guilty of. A seasoned operator like Giuliani knows that to diminish the power of rumor, it must be treated as a silly joke barely worth discussing. Take a look at how Giuliani dismissed the Stormy Daniels affair when talking with Hannity (bold emphasis ours):
Sean Hannity: “My question is, are you concerned within the process of this, we did discover that a foreign national, Christopher Steele, was paid through Fusion GPS, used Russian sources that not only weren’t verified, but were debunked — are you concerned that was paid for, to manipulate the American people in the lead-up to an election?”
Giuliani: “Isn’t that closer to the mandate than Michael Cohen?”
Hannity: “Why isn’t that happening? Where’s Mueller on that, sir?”
Giuliani: “Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000? Which, I mean, is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.
This is a cheap lawyerly tactic to diminish Daniels by referring to her as “some woman” (a woman who has been pictured with Trump, and paid a large sum of money by his personal lawyer to disappear incidentally). If the rumors about Giuliani drinking too much were not true, he would have laughed at Scarborough’s assertions and moved on. Instead, he claimed he was “a lot more aware and intelligent than Joe has ever been” and ran down a list of his career accomplishments. The hotshot lawyer doth protest too much, methinks.
Thirdly, we must not forget about Giuliani’s performance itself — a spectacle so astonishingly disastrous that any competent president would have fired him the moment they came off air. Giuliani literally confessed to his client being guilty of the two alleged crimes he is being paid to defend him on: that Trump knew about paying off Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet, and did so in order to help his chances in the 2016 election. This constitutes serious campaign finance violations, and any (sober) lawyer would have known not to confess to them on live television.
As loathsome as Giuliani is, he isn’t an idiot, which leads to only two conclusions about his car wreck of an interview — both of which do not bode well for the 73 year old. The first is that Giuliani is going senile and can’t keep his facts straight or remember what he is supposed to be arguing. The second is that he went on air ginned up, full of Dutch courage and shot his mouth off thinking he could get away with confessing to Trump’s crimes and get away with it because he was on friendly territory.
Alternatively, it may well be a mixture of both scenarios — a drunk, passed his prime Giuliani went on air with an old friend to shoot the shit, and ended up conceding every argument he was supposed to be against.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.