Already under fire for claims that President Obama doesn't love America, former New York City Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiOver 3,000 of Giuliani's communications released to prosecutors following FBI seizure National Archives transfers contested presidential documents to Jan. 6 committee Rhode Island school revokes honorary degrees for Giuliani, Flynn MORE doubled down, saying Obama has had "communist" influences since an early age.
“He doesn’t talk about America the way John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did, about America’s greatness and exceptionalism,” Giuliani said in an interview with The New York Post published Saturday. “He was educated by people who were critics of the U.S. And he has not been able to overcome those influences.”
The former GOP presidential candidate walked through Obama's life, "from the time he was 9 years old," when Giuliani says "he was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist," to his "17 years in the church of Jeremiah Wright … the guy who said 'God damn America, not God bless America," a critique Obama faced during his first presidential campaign.
“Obama never left that church," Giuliani added.
The new comments follow a Wednesday dinner in New York, where the former mayor said Obama "wasn't brought up the way you were brought up," and that his love of the U.S. should be doubted. Those remarks caught fire in the media and brought condemnation from the White House.
"It's sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly," press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier Friday. "I don't take any joy or vindication or satisfaction from that."
Other prominent Republicans, including some considered potential 2016 presidential candidates, have been forced to weigh in on Giuliani's stance, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush saying he "doesn't question President Obama's motives" and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) implying he found the assertion "embarrassing."
But Giuliani would not be cowed, telling the Post, “somebody has to raise these issues with the president. Somebody has to have the courage to stand up.”
He also took exception to the president's handing of last year's shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri, which "turned out to be justified," he said, compared to how Obama speaks of violence from Muslim extremists.
“How could you hold a press conference about Ferguson and not hold a press conference when Christians and Jews were slaughtered?” he asked.
Pressed about his earlier claim on Obama loving America, Giuliani said, "I don't back off of that one bit."