Barrett and Collins found it ironic that Rudy’s HQ decision wound up rendering him iconic: “It was at once the dumbest decision he ever made and the one that made him a legend. If the center had been elsewhere, all the dramatic visuals that had turned Giuliani into a nomad warrior would instead have been tense but tame footage from its barren press conference room.”
Just as crucial was the fact—cited by Farmer—that the police and firefighters didn’t have the capacity to communicate on the same emergency frequency. In the aftermath of the ‘93 terrorist bombing in a World Trade Center parking garage, Giuliani had nearly eight years to solve that problem. He failed. New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, in their book 102 Minutes, which meticulously reconstructs that fateful morning, filled in the background as well. They wrote that Giuliani’s predecessor, David Dinkins, had created an Aviation Emergency Preparedness Working Group, which included representatives from the fire and police departments; in 1990, “the group concluded that the agencies needed to practice working together and to arrange a single radio frequency that commanders could share during emergencies.”
However, The Times reporters recounted, “the group was disbanded in 1994, when (Giuliani) took office…the city did not organize a single joint drill involving all the emergency responders in the eight years after the 1993 attack.” And the 9/11 Commission staff concluded, in a statement released in May 2004: “Any attempt to establish a unified command on 9/11 would have been frustrated by the lack of communication and coordination among responding agencies.”
Actually, the verdict on Giuliani might have been harsher if only the Commission had dared to probe deeper. The chairman and vice chairman, Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton, wrote in 2006 that Giuliani’s halo essentially inoculated him: “It proved difficult, if not impossible, to raise hard questions about 9/11 in New York without it being perceived as criticism of the individual police and firefighters or of Mayor Giuliani. We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record.”
So as Donald Trump’s critics—at this point, a solid majority of Americans—ponder his TV lawyer’s rhetorical antics, including his declaration last week that Trump won’t answer Mueller questions that touch on obstruction of justice, followed by his walk back that such questions are “not ruled in or out,” it is fallacious to believe that Giuliani has inexplicably soiled his 9/11 sainthood. That was always a myth – unlike his iron bond with Trump, which apparently nothing, not even verbal abuse, can ever sunder.
In Bob Woodward’s new book, there’s a telling episode on Trump’s campaign plane. The “Access Hollywood” tape had just surfaced, and Giuliani went on TV to defend his friend. But Trump reportedly went ballistic, believing that Giuliani had been too conciliatory, and he yelled on the plane: “Rudy, you’re a baby! I’ve never seen a worse defense of me in my life…You’re like a little baby that needed to be changed…You’re weak, Rudy. You’ve lost it.”
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