Giuliani review: Andrew Kirtzman’s definitive life of Trump’s last lackey | Books

Rudy Giuliani went from hero to zero. As mayor, he guided New York City and the nation through the trauma of 9/11. Twenty years later, Sacha Baron Cohen captured him with his hands down his pants and the cameras rolled as the dye ran down his sweaty face. America laughed.

Prior to being mayor, Giuliani served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Assistant United States Attorney General under Ronald Reagan. He paraded wayward bankers across the floors, to the delight of all but Wall Street and civil libertarians.

As mayor, Giuliani ruled the city as only a former prosecutor could. He demanded loyalty and tolerated no dissent.

Andrew Kirtzman’s first biography was titled Rudy Giuliani: The City Emperor. In his second, the author describes an “authoritarian” mayor. According to his sister, the mayor’s mother, Helen Giuliani, “loved” Mussolini. Her husband, Harold, was a robber and mob legbreaker and served time in Sing Sing.

Under Giuliani, New Yorkers felt safer than they would under Bill de Blasio or, now, Eric Adams. But Giuliani broadcast contempt for the city’s minorities and lacked the temperament, capacity for consensus and deep pockets of Michael Bloomberg, his billionaire successor. Too often, Giuliani has simply acted like a thug.

After 9/11, he ran for president, made money as a lawyer, and then became a Trump lackey. Now, thanks to his work advancing the former president’s big lie about voter fraud, he is being targeted by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, and his attorney’s license is suspended. Think of a malicious Inspector Clouseau.

Apparently, Giuliani is aware of his decline. On the other hand, he said, “I don’t care about my heritage. I will be dead. This quote leads Kirtzman’s introduction.

As a reporter on NY1, Time Warner’s local 24-hour cable news channel, Kirtzman covered Giuliani from the campaign trail to City Hall. On September 11, 2001, he was there with the mayor of Lower Manhattan. He witnessed Giuliani’s strides, missteps and spectacular collapse. Kirtzman’s new subtitle, The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor, says it all.

The book is masterful and captivating. It is surrounded by over 40 pages of endnotes. The author and David Holley, his researcher, have done a remarkable job. They capture what thrilled the man and what led to his fall from grace. Kirtzman’s review is peppered with bittersweet impressions and references to Giuliani’s accomplishments.

On election night 2020 and after, the former mayor helped Trump resist the will of the people. The social fabric was theirs to burn and tear apart. Giuliani’s complacency complimented Trump’s refusal to concede defeat. The future ex-president has given Giuliani another opportunity to take center stage. If Trump didn’t appoint him secretary of state, he could at least disguise himself as a presidential lawyer.

KIrtzman’s book ranks among other must-have biographies like Rudy! by the late and great investigative journalist Wayne Barrett and the most supportive The Prince of the City by Fred Siegel, urban historian and adviser to Giuliani.

Kirtzman asks Judith Nathan, Giuliani’s third ex-wife, to really clean up. She says Giuliani’s crushing failure in the 2008 presidential primary left him shattered and clutching the bottle. She credits Trump with providing shelter.

“We moved to Mar-a-Lago and Donald kept our secret,” she says.

As Kirtzman puts it, Giuliani “dreamed of becoming president from a young age, [but] blew his big moment when he arrived”. In the steamy aftermath, he talked to therapists but, to quote Nathan, “always fell into shit somewhere.”

The couple is divorced but their antipathy continues to be felt. Characteristically, Giuliani offered a different explanation for his stumbles and falls. He played baseball in his youth and developed the “catcher’s knee”. Does anyone really believe that Giuliani was once a budding Yogi Berra?

Anthony Carbonetti, Giuliani’s chief of staff at the town hall, is also a friend of the family. He also spoke to Kirtzman, targeting Nathan while delivering a backhand defense of his former boss. He told Nathan to “stay fucking stay” out of Giuliani’s life. To Kirtzman, he says, “If you spent a lot of time with this woman, you’d be drinking a lot.

Giuliani hosts a press conference in November 2020. Photography: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Carbonetti became an intermediary between Trump and Giuliani…and, along with other members of Giuliani’s retinue, a lobbyist for Qatar.

As Kirtzman makes clear, Giuliani never lacked zeal. For Trump, he sought to become the second Roy Cohn, Trump’s all-time favorite attorney. From searching for land in Ukraine to wrongfully blaming Dominion Voting Systems for Trump’s downfall, Giuliani has done it all. His capacity for self-abasement was bottomless.

In the aftermath of the January 6 uprising, Maria Ryan, an associate of Giuliani’s, asked for a pardon and for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also tried to make him pay. She failed. Giuliani forgot that even when Cohn was in the hospital, dying of AIDS, Trump pushed him aside.

“I can’t believe he did this to me,” Cohn said. “Donald Piss Ice Water.”

Giuliani testified before a Fulton County grand jury and the House Jan. 6 Committee. He is charged in libel suits brought by Dominion and Smartmatic, another election machine company. In Trumpworld, Maga stands for Make America Great Again. It could also mean “Making Lawyers Get Lawyers”.

Kirtzman’s biography sums things up. Despite everything, two years after the 2020 election which he refused to concede, Trump remains the favorite for the Republican nomination in 2024.

“Giuliani, on the other hand, [is] finished in every way imaginable.

Colin L. Johnson