Giuliani asked for post-9/11 mayoral election to be canceled so he could stay in office: book

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Rudy Giuliani asked then-New York Gov. George Pataki to cancel New York City’s 2001 mayoral election so he could stay in office after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, according to a excerpt of Pataki’s unpublished memoir obtained by the New York Post.

At a press conference with Giuliani and then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Manhattan’s Pier 92 on Sept. 24, 2001, the former mayor reportedly asked for a private meeting with Pataki where he “dropped a bomb” by asking the governor to extend his term limit, which was set to expire that year. 

Pataki initially supported the idea of repealing term limits so Giuliani could remain in office but then decided it was a “bad idea both as a matter of principle and politically.”

“Are you really, right now, after a terror attack on our state, our city, asking me to just cancel the entire election? I am a conservative. We respect the law. For God’s sake, you’re a prosecutor! You know the law,” Pataki thought to himself. 

However, Giuliani told the New York Daily News in a phone interview that although “there were people who wanted me to do it,” he “never asked [Pataki] to do it. I never made the decision to do it.”


The two Republicans’ legal teams discussed the idea in the following weeks. Giuliani eventually left office, and now-presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg took office. 

In 2008, the New York City Council voted to extend term limits for Bloomberg, who went on to serve a third term amid the financial crisis. Bloomberg then backed restoring the two-term limit, which is now the rule again. 

In the days following 9/11, Giuliani was dubbed “America’s Mayor” by Oprah Winfrey and was repeatedly praised for his efforts to unit the city. Pataki said that although Giuliani “abandoned some of the most basic conservative principles,” he may not have had malicious intentions. 

“While some may look at Rudy Giuliani as a power-hungry politician, the reality is that he wanted to keep leading and helping with the recovery efforts. He believed staying in office was best for the city. I was sure it wasn’t,” Pataki wrote.

After Giuliani’s phone interview with the Daily News, he remained on the line after telling the reporter he had to catch a flight. While unaware he was being recorded, Giuliani said Pataki is just “trying to sell a book.”

“Even if we would have had that conversation, it would have been privileged between a mayor and a governor … He’s an honorable guy,” Giuliani said, according to the Daily News.

At one point he directly said the events “didn’t take place.”

Pataki’s book, “Beyond the Great Divide,” will be released in April.

Updated: 9 p.m.

Tags Michael Bloomberg Oprah Winfrey Rudy Giuliani

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