Rudy Giuliani knows a lot about love.
Ask Regina Peruggi, the second cousin he grew up with and married, who was "offended" when Rudy later engineered an annulment from the priest who was his best man on the grounds, strangely enough, that she was his cousin. Or ask Donna Hanover, the mother of his two children, who found out he wanted a separation when he left Gracie Mansion one morning and announced it at a televised press conference.
Or ask Judi Nathan, his third wife, whom he started dating while still married to Hanover and New York mayor. In two SUVs, he and an entourage of six or seven cops traveled 11 times to Judi's Hamptons getaway at a taxpayer cost of $3,000 a trip. That's love.
Rudy knows so much about love that he declared the other day that President Obama "doesn't love you" and "doesn't love me" at a private party of GOP fat cats.
The onetime presidential candidate also revealed at the party that Obama "doesn't love America," an echo of a speech he'd delivered to delirious cheers in Arizona a week earlier when he declared: "I would go anywhere, any place, anytime, and I wouldn't give a damn what the President of the United States said, to defend my country. That's a patriot. That's a man who loves his people. That's a man who fights for his people. Unlike our President."
Rudy may have forgotten the half-dozen deferments he won ducking the Vietnam War, even getting the federal judge he was clerking for to write a letter creating a special exemption for him. And remember Bernie Kerik? He's the Giulaini police commissioner, business partner and sidekick whose nomination as homeland security secretary narrowly preceded indictments. He then did his national service in prison.
Giuliani went so far as to rebuke the President for not being "brought up the way you were and the way I was brought up through love of this country," a bow no doubt to the parenting prowess of Harold Giuliani, who did time in Sing Sing for holding up a Harlem milkman and was the bat-wielding enforcer for the loan-sharking operation run out of a Brooklyn bar owned by Rudy's uncle.
Though Rudy cited Harold throughout his public life as his model (without revealing any of his history), he and five Rudy uncles found ways to avoid service in World War II. Harold, whose robbery conviction was in the name of an alias, made sure the draft board knew he was a felon. On the other hand, Obama's grandfather and uncle served. His uncle helped liberate Buchenwald, which apparently affected him so deeply he stayed in the family attic for six months when he returned home.
Rudy also said Obama is "more of a critic than he is a supporter of America," an odd admonition coming from a security salesman who told a Tijuana audience of consulting clients in October: "America needs to stop lecturing other countries and start working on how to stop drug use in its citizens," shifting the onus for the Mexican drug trade onto us. He's a consultant in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the very countries where right-wing governments, traffickers and/or gangs are driving children and teenagers across the U.S. border.
He was a consultant for the government of Qatar, the country his friend and FBI director Louis Freeh accused of hiding 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed before the attack. That's the ultimate triumph of money over memory, since he's still talking, as recently as a week ago, about the 10 friends and 343 firefighters he lost on 9/11.
While Giuliani finds Obama's rhetoric insufficiently pro-American, his 2012 RNC speech was filled with catchphrases like Obama's "a complete and absolute failure," and he just branded the President "a moron" in his Arizona invocation of Neville Chamberlain at Munich, all of it presumably a new form of nationalist celebration. In 2012, Rudy even blasted Obama, without a glance in the mirror, for "attempting to exploit" the killing of Osama Bin Laden, calling it "disgusting."
Rudy contends that his not-like-us Obama insights have nothing to do with race, adding in day-after doubling down that the President "was taught to be a critic of America," while pointing out that his mother and grandparents were white. There are few in New York now, after 12 years of Mike Bloomberg and a year of Bill de Blasio, who doubt that Rudy was a conscious, almost energetic, polarizer. He never acknowledged his dark side then and he's not about to now.
Barrett is author of "Rudy: An Investigative Biography."