Bill Press: GOP silence on Rudy

Bill Press: GOP silence on Rudy
© Getty Images

Even though they still call themselves the party of Lincoln, there are many ways in which today’s Republicans no longer follow the spirit of the Great Emancipator. 

For starters, too many of them forget Lincoln’s first rule for politicians: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Rudy Giuliani ignored that warning last week. He showed the world he’s a fool when, after a private dinner honoring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, he used the occasion to, in effect, call President Obama a traitor. 

“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 told the assembled Wall Street executives. “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.” 

Thanks to on-the-spot reporting by Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn, the former mayor’s comments quickly went viral and stirred up a storm of protest. But Giuliani didn’t back down. He doubled down instead, insisting in multiple appearances on Fox News and in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Obama not only hates America but has never said one good thing about it in all his speeches.

In a sense, no matter how outrageous, Giuliani’s comments are nothing new. They were a continuation of the Obama Hate Machine’s meme in 2008: He wasn’t born here; he didn’t grow up here; he was raised by communists; he can’t produce his birth certificate; he’s not a legitimate president. But coming six years into the Obama presidency, from a top Republican, those remarks were especially offensive — and far below the level of political discourse we should tolerate in this country.

But even more disgusting than Giuliani’s comments is the failure of other leading Republicans to condemn him. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannEvangelicals shouldn't be defending Trump in tiff over editorial Mellman: The 'lane theory' is the wrong lane to be in White House backs Stephen Miller amid white nationalist allegations MORE actually defended him. Bobby Jindal put out a statement saying the “gist” of what Giuliani said was true. And Darrell Issa said we should “thank” Giuliani for raising the issue.

Notice what’s missing — where are the Republicans willing to stand up and say Giuliani is dead wrong? Surely, as Democrats and Republicans, we can differ over policy and disagree over the best direction to take this country. But as Americans, we all still love our country and want what’s best for our country. Despite their differences, Democrats and Republicans are all good, patriotic Americans — and for Giuliani to suggest otherwise is unworthy of American politics.

Why won’t John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerMeadows set to resign from Congress as he moves to White House The Pelosi administration Coronavirus spending will come amid huge deficits MORE or Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Schumer praises choice of Defense inspector general to oversee corporate lending fund MORE, the House and Senate party leaders, say that? Why not Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus? Or, especially, why not Walker, who was in the same room with Giuliani? This was their Sister Souljah moment, their chance, like Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonClintons send pizza to NY hospital staff treating coronavirus Budowsky: President Trump, meet with all former living presidents Why Klobuchar should be Biden's vice presidential pick MORE in 1992, to take a bold stand against extremists in their own party — and they blew it. 

Sadly, their silence speaks volumes. By not condemning Giuliani’s remarks, Republicans, in essence, agree with him.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.