In a year-end video message laden with conspiracy theories, Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer to President Donald Trump, said 2020 (the year of the novel coronavirus pandemic) turned out to be way worse than 2001 (the year of the September 11th terrorist attacks during his tenure as New York City mayor). The reason, he asserted, was partially because Americans failed to band together with anti-Chinese nationalistic sentiments in 2020 they way they banded together against Al Qaeda in 2001.
Giuliani drew shocking parallels between the two ill-fated years. He said America was “under attack” by the coronavirus pandemic and sorely needed a “patriotic,” “strong,” and “uniting” response thereto. He blamed a litany of specific Democrats (and Democrats in general) for the alleged failure to bind Americans together way he believed to be a necessary and appropriate response to COVID-19.
“We were attacked by China,” Giuliani said in the video. “We were attacked by something that should really be called CCP Virus: Chinese Communist Party Virus.”
In the oftentimes-divorced-from-reality tome, Giuliani acknowledged that a dark proverbial shroud hung over the year — despite his own client being the man in charge at the White House during the entire year. Yet Trump was not responsible for the disastrous time in history; rather, in Giuliani’s view, Trump was the central savior over a year which was not ultimately saved.
At no point does Giuliani attribute Americans’ failure to follow Trump’s leadership to a failure of Trump’s style of leadership.
A total of 2,977 people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The number of people dying daily from COVID-19 complications has at times surpassed that number; a total of more than 350,000 have died from the pandemic, according to the CDC. But 9/11 ushered a swell of national pride which resulted in two wars: one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. The latter was based on dubious assessments of Saddam Hussein’s connections with Al Qaeda, subsequent government reports indicated.
Giuliani ignored the dubious assessments but focused instead — with a possible yearning for his own glory days as “America’s Mayor” — on the national pride which resulted from the 9/11 attacks. Giuliani also failed to acknowledge that his view of COVID-19 ignored critical facts and is therefore not dissimilar to the analytical missteps which resulted in the Iraq war.
“It originated in China,” he said of the virus. “It was either produced deliberately or it was a — escaped negligently from a lab that was well known for being negligent.”
Most scientists believe neither is true. The virus likely jumped from an animal species, such as pangolins or bats, to humans in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. The virus’s genome “clearly show[s]” that it “is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” one scientific study says. Despite all that, Giuliani, like 40-percent of Americans, thinks the virus was manufactured in a lab. Giuliani apparently either doesn’t believe the research or didn’t read it; he never cited it in his view or even presented it as a counterargument — the way lawyers are encouraged to do.
Instead, Giuliani carried the conspiracy theory to the election.
“One of the worst things we experienced was so many of those left-wing Democrats rooting against the country — rooting against the recovery of the country — so they could defeat Trump,” he claimed. “Which means rooting for destruction in the lives of ordinary people; destruction of their business; destruction of their savings accounts; in some cases the destruction of their health. It’s something we really have to examine — an awful lot of cynicism in this country and almost meanness.”
His thoughts did not end there. In a fit of revisionist history that is easily debunked as flatly untrue, Giuliani said Trump allowed shutdowns to happen to save the country.
The shutdowns were “catastrophic for our economy; the president knew it; the president . . . had to make a hard choice,” Giuliani said while casting Trump as a martyr. “He knew that the economy was central to his being able to easily win reelection, but he was willing to put that at risk in order to save lives; once again, a very prudent and a very sensible decision which history will look at very kindly.”
Trump didn’t have the power to order a shutdown in the first place. Shutdowns are the legal tools of state officials. Giuliani’s whitewash of the facts ignored the Trump Administration’s repeated and belligerent pleas to governors to reopen their states. It further ignored claims by Trump that he had the unilateral power to force states to reopen. (He didn’t. The only genuine power the federal government has over such matters is coercion via the checkbook; that didn’t occur.) It also ignored Trump’s repeated tweets dating back to at least early March which mostly weighed against — and only rarely favored — shutdowns (more examples here, here, here, here, and here).
Giuliani ignored all of those well-documented presidential statements and instead praised Trump’s speed at reacting to the virus. Assuming that the scientific community is in the back pockets of Democrats, Giuliani suggested that the medicines doctors used to treat his own COVID infection wouldn’t have been around but for Donald Trump. He said that if Democrats were in charge, those medicines would have only been around “six months later, eight months later” or would have “gone through the FDA forever and ever and ever.” He even supposed that “a lot of people would have died, as often happens with the delays that happen with the FDA.”
But it wasn’t the Democrats who were to ultimate blame, he opined.
“A lot of people did die, and it’s a tragedy,” he said. “The blame for it lies directly with the Chinese Communist Party.”
He called COVID a “terrible attack on our freedoms.”
Giuliani likened Trump’s allegedly quick work defeating the virus to America’s industrial build-up after the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor which catapulted the U.S. directly into World War II.
Giuliani sees Trump as the only redeemer of America during the pandemic because Trump continuously blamed China for the virus’s spread and ordered the shutdown of travel from China. Giuliani said many key Democrats were against the travel ban, but he failed to analyze the degree to which Democrats were actually against the policy. Giuliani failed to mention Trump’s concomitant shutdown of immigration, which mostly affected entries from places other than China — and which suggested to critics that the virus was a lesser Trump concern than the broader entry of foreign nationals in general. Giuliani also failed to discuss repeated blunders by Trump or by his administration regarding the Strategic National Stockpile of emergency medical gear, the Trump Administration’s use of medical equipment to buoy the election chances of Republicans and sink the chances of Democrats, or the administration’s attempt to mislead the American people about the federal government’s duties during a pandemic by changing a website. Giuliani also ignored Trump’s reported refusal to agree with vaccine makers that the Defense Production Act should be used to spur the procurement of raw vaccine materials.
Despite those well-documented issues with supplies, et cetera, Giuliani’s take is that Trump “reacted very, very swiftly to the needs of the states” because he sent a hospital ship to New York City. That did actually happen (albeit not quite as expected), and Giuliani noted that a rare moment of “bipartisan cooperation” and praise from Democrats such as Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California resulted. But the Democrats were so intent on winning the election that they chose to divide the country, Giuliani argued, rather than to let a wave 9/11-style nationalism roll across America in a manner Giuliani so yearned. Rather, he said, the Democrats went went on “steal votes” and “demonized medicines like hydroxychloroquine to the extent that they — people — died as a result of being afraid to take it.” Giuliani said three of his personal friends believed they survived the pandemic by taking hydroxychloroquine, even though the National Institutes of Health decided that a “final analysis of study data” concluded that “hydroxychloroquine provides no benefit to adults hospitalized with COVID-19.” Giuliani ignored that science as well.
“Maybe if that [9/11-style] spirit had continued we’d have had a very, very different outcome with regard to the spirit of our country,” Giuliani said.
He then issued his buried thesis as a proverbial coup de grace on the year.
“We’d have used this terrible attack to bring us together against China and against the disease,” he said.
And that is what Giuliani tacitly suggested that he so desperately wanted: anti-Chinese sentiment in the wake of a virus he somehow believes, against scientific evidence to the contrary, that China unleashed in order to punish humanity generally and Americans specifically.
Giuliani said he didn’t blame Democrats completely, but he routinely blamed Democrats nonetheless. America didn’t ascertain that it was under “attack,” he said, but that Trump figured it out anyway because Trump had better instincts and foresight.
“The first political figure to figure it out is Donald Trump,” he said. “They were a month, to a month and a half — Pelosi, Cuomo, Biden — were a month to two months behind him — still talking about going to Chinatown, and do what you want.” Giuliani thus cast Democrats as anti-shutdown despite many being vociferously pro-shutdown — including to their own well-documented legal jeopardy.
Giuliani admitted that he couldn’t “trace exactly when” the Democrats shifted during their response against the virus to what he described as a grab on the election.
“I’ll go back and look more closely, but I don’t know if it matters,” he said.
(To be clear, Rudy Guilani said that a close check of the facts may not be important.)
Giuliani didn’t come anywhere close to suggesting a war against China, but he did say that he wanted Americans to be against China. He failed to acknowledge that one of America’s two post-9/11 wars was described by the government years later to be based on a faulty view of intelligence information. As good as those times may have felt to him, he failed to assess that his own foreign policy preferences as to COVID-19 are based on similarly faulty assessments — as measured by the information he failed to cite in his befuddled analysis.
The diatribe went on. At one point, the video paused so Giuliani could hawk the sale of gold coins. He then shifted to other topics.
[image via YouTube screen capture]
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