Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) defended his claim that President Obama does not love America on Thursday night.
In an interview with The New York Times, Giuliani dismissed criticism that his comment was prejudiced against the nation's first black president and said that he was more broadly describing Obama's worldview — which some on the right have said is racially prejudiced against white people.
“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Giuliani told the newspaper. “This isn’t racism, this is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
He also said that Obama's view of history was limited, and criticized remarks the president made citing the Crusades as evidence that religious extremism was not solely a Muslim problem.
“Now we know there’s something wrong with the guy,” Giuliani said. “I thought that one sort of went off the cliff.’’
“What I don’t find with Obama — this will get me in more trouble again — is a really deep knowledge of history," he said. "I think it’s a dilettante’s knowledge of history."
At a dinner on Wednesday with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and conservative figures, Giuliani said that Obama had been raised to have anti-American values.
"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America," he said. "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."
His comments were reported by Politico.
The White House responded to the comments on Thursday afternoon.
"He seems embarrassed enough to be doing damage control this morning, so I'm not going to pile on from here," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. "But I will say I agree with him on one thing he said today, which is that it was a horrible thing to say."