Jindal defends 'gist' of Giuliani's comments

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is standing by Rudy Giuliani, saying that the essence of the former New York City mayor's comments questioning President Obama's love of country is true.

"The gist of what Mayor Giuliani said — that the President has shown himself to be completely unable to speak the truth about the nature of the threats from these [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] terrorists – is true," Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said in a statement shared with The Hill. "If you are looking for someone to condemn the Mayor, look elsewhere."

ADVERTISEMENT
The White Housed initially referred reporters to comments made by Rick Stengel, the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, who called Giuliani's comment "wrong in every possible way that it could be wrong."

White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said later aboard the president's flight to Chicago that Giuliani made a similar remark during his "fleeting" presidential bid in 2008, according to the pool report. 

 

“I’m not going to pile on from here,” Schultz said, adding he agreed it was a "horrible" thing to say.

“A leader of the Republican Party said that the president doesn’t love us, and doesn’t love the country," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said Thursday at the group's winter meeting in Washington. “Is this what it’s really come to? Really?"

Jindal acknowledged that "Democrats and many in the media are all atwitter" over Giuliani's remark that he doesn't "believe that the president loves America."

“He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up, and I was brought up through love of this country," Giuliani told those gathered for a Wednesday dinner in Manhattan that was attended by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential candidate, according to Politico.

Walker declined to rebuke Giuliani during a Thursday morning appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"The mayor can speak for himself," Walker said. "I'm not going to comment on what the president thinks. He can speak for himself as well."

Pressed for his reaction, Walker added, "I'm in New York, I'm used to people saying things that are aggressive."

Giuliani maybe should have "chosen different phraseology" but his overall point was accurate, said Jindal, whose comments were first reported by Time magazine.

"The level of the President’s love for our country is immaterial at this juncture. What President Obama has obviously demonstrated for everyone is that he is incapable of successfully executing his duties as our Commander in Chief," Jindal added.

David McCabe contributed.

This post was updated at 3:25 p.m.