Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani moved to explain and qualify his recent comments about President Barack Obama’s love for America in an Wall Street Journal op-ed published Sunday night.
“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart,” Giuliani wrote. “My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.”
“Obviously, I cannot read President Obama’s mind or heart, and to the extent that my words suggested otherwise, it was not my intention,” he added. “When asked last week whether I thought the president was a patriot, I said I did, and would repeat that. I bear him no ill will, and in fact think that his personal journey is inspiring and a testament to much of what makes this country great.”
Giuliani told a group of New York influentials last week that Obama “does not love America,” and doubled down on that remark in later interviews. “I want to repeat it,” he said on Fox News. “The reality is from all that I can see of this president, all that I’ve heard of him, he apologizes for America, he criticizes America.” (RELATED: Giuliani Doubles Down On Comments Questioning Obama’s Love Of America)
Although he walked back the personal attack Sunday, he reiterated the gist of his criticism, and said Obama’s heavy criticism of the country and disinclination to claim distinct moral authority is harmful — regardless of his personal feelings.
“Irrespective of what a president may think or feel, his inability or disinclination to emphasize what is right with America can hamstring our success as a nation,” Giuliani wrote. “This is particularly true when a president is seen, as President Obama is, as criticizing his country more than other presidents have done, regardless of their political affiliation.”
“Any reluctance to hold up America and its ideals in contrast to the nation’s enemies weakens our message,” he added. “Any reluctance to define accurately the beliefs of our enemies helps them camouflage themselves and confuses our military and intelligence efforts.”
“And to say, as the president has, that American exceptionalism is no more exceptional than the exceptionalism of any other country in the world, does not suggest a becoming and endearing modesty, but rather a stark lack of moral clarity,” he added.
Giuliani said he hopes his comments spark a “real conversation” about national leadership.
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