All cheer! The longest and most grueling presidential campaign in history is finally over. Those who haven’t already voted go to the polls today. But while it may be days before we know who the actual winner is, Donald Trump or Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE, we already know who the big loser is: Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer MORE!
For political historians, one of the biggest mysteries of the 21st century will remain: How did Giuliani go from being celebrated worldwide as “America’s Mayor” to being disgraced as a purveyor of fake news, an international buffoon, the catalyst for Donald Trump’s impeachment and the clueless target of Borat’s latest prank?
Many Americans had never heard of Rudy Giuliani until Sept. 11, 2001, his last year as mayor of New York. We watched in horror as the Twin Towers fell. We saw thousands of people, covered in ash, fleeing from the scene. And then, suddenly, rushing toward the scene, was New York’s heroic mayor: taking control, helping direct rescue efforts, reassuring Americans help was on the way. It was Giuliani’s greatest moment. Too bad he didn’t quit then and there. It’s been downhill ever since.
For a while, Giuliani disappeared from public view, only to resurface in 2015, when his real estate buddy and fellow playboy Donald Trump decided to run for president. Even though he didn’t land a job in the new administration, Giuliani stayed close to Trump, loosely operating as an outside legal adviser, until he came up with a crazy scheme to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden, already emerging as Trump’s strongest potential opponent in 2020.
You know the story. Using his own questionable business contacts in Ukraine, and taking advantage of Hunter Biden’s own poor judgment in joining the board of a Ukrainian company, Giuliani conned President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE into calling the president of Ukraine and asking him to open a criminal investigation into Joe Biden — as a result of which Donald Trump became only the third president to be impeached. Thank you, Rudy.
You’d think that’d be enough to convince Trump not to trust Giuliani anymore. But oh, no. Trump’s fallen hook, line and sinker for Giuliani’s latest attempt to sully Biden’s reputation — this time a bizarre plot involving a broken-down laptop, salacious emails and yet another questionable business deal by Hunter Biden, this one in China. After assigning a team of reporters to investigate it, even The Wall Street Journal refused to publish the story, concluding it showed “no role for Joe Biden.” Still, Trump continues to pump it at every campaign rally — even after being warned by intelligence officials last year that Giuliani was being used by Russian agents as a conduit for anti-Biden disinformation.
Then, as if that were not enough to destroy what was left of Giuliani’s credibility, along comes Sacha Baron Cohen — who pranked Giuliani to appear in the hilarious final scene of his latest Borat film (Watch it on Amazon!). The issue’s not: Was Rudy really just tucking in his shirt or fondling his genitals? The real issue is: Why did he agree to an interview with a phony TV network? Why agree to do the interview in a hotel room? And, after the interview, why agree to have a drink with the young woman “reporter” in her adjacent bedroom? And Rudy accuses Joe Biden of poor judgment?
After he’s careened from one embarrassment to another, the big question is: Why does anybody still believe anything Rudy Giuliani says or does? He’s the only person in public life today with less credibility than Donald Trump.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”