Giuliani questions NPR funding

BLUE BELL, Pa. — Rudy Giuliani defended former NPR analyst Juan Williams Friday, saying Williams was fired for simply "explaining his feelings."

"Juan Williams just expressed something that a lot of people feel," Giuliani told the crowd at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey. "And he gets fired for it?"

Earlier this week in an interview on Fox News, Williams said seeing passengers in "Muslim garb" on a plane makes him nervous.    

"Look Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," Williams told Bill O'Reilly in an interview. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Shortly after the comments, NPR decided to sever its contract with Williams. The resulting firestorm saw several Republican lawmakers calling on Congress to defund NPR.

Giuliani appeared to join that call Friday, calling into question NPR's funding.

"We put taxpayer money into that censorship program," Giuliani said of NPR.

Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during 9/11, reminded the crowd that on the evening of September 11, 2001, he warned New Yorkers not to single out Arab-Americans.

But the former mayor added that it is irresponsible to ignore the threat of Islamic extremists, noting he doesn't understand why anyone would be offended at that notion.

"I don't care who's offended by it," Giuliani said. "And if you are offended by it, there's something wrong with you."