What Does Rudy Giuliani’s Son Do?
All of which made then–Chief of Staff John Kelly “grumpy,” as a fourth former White House official described it. When Kelly took over for Reince Priebus as Trump’s chief of staff in July 2017, the source said, “he couldn’t wrap his head around” Andrew Giuliani and the president’s relationship, in large part because of Giuliani’s father. Kelly took issue with Rudy’s frequent television appearances, many of the officials told me, griping that the president’s lawyer would go on shows to talk about one problem, but leave the set having created several more. Andrew, in Kelly’s eyes, appeared little more than an unhelpful extension of his father. “Kelly hated him because he didn’t like that there was this random guy … who played golf with Trump and whose dad was a problem,” the second former official explained.
Kelly revoked Andrew’s West Wing access, disrupting the staffer’s otherwise freewheeling setup. Giuliani “flipped out” about the downgrade, the third former official said. Four of the former officials said Giuliani’s father immediately spoke about it with Trump, who then ordered Kelly to restore Giuliani’s pass and promote him to special assistant to the president. “Kelly just wouldn’t,” the third former official said. “Trump would think it was done. Then it wasn’t … It was classic Kelly. Just ignore and assume Trump will forget.” Kelly, the source added, “said the staff reported to him, not Trump, so it was for him to decide.”
As is well known, Kelly was intent on closing off the circle of those in direct contact with Trump, demanding that even Kushner and Trump’s daughter Ivanka alert him to their every interaction with the president in their capacity as advisers. Kelly, as I’ve reported, resented the couple’s meddling in high-profile issues, like immigration, in which they had no experience. But Giuliani posed a different sort of problem for the chief of staff, in that he wasn’t meddling, or improperly inserting himself in major decisions, or going rogue on his own projects—in Kelly’s view, he just seemed, well, there. To Munisteri, however, any White House official’s problem with Giuliani’s access is simply a product of envy. “It’s a jealousy thing,” he said. “He’s known the president since he was a kid. That’s just gonna bother some people.”
With Kelly long gone, the professional life of Andrew Giuliani has been, in some ways, on the mend: Three of the former officials, as well as another person close to Andrew, told me that even in this radioactive moment for Rudy, Kelly’s successor, Mick Mulvaney, has restored his son’s West Wing access (it’s unclear whether he did so at Trump’s behest), has promoted him to special assistant to the president, and takes no issues with his golf outings with Trump. And yet one of the officials said that Giuliani, talkative like his dad, has seemed much quieter of late. It’s a change that anyone who spends time around Giuliani is bound to notice. (In 2009, when Giuliani was a contestant on the Golf Channel’s Big Break: Disney Golf, his fellow contestants often griped on camera about his chattiness. “Talking. That’s all he does,” said one. “I mean, he would talk to this door.”) “I think for the most part he’s trying to keep his head down and not make any waves,” the second former official said. “His dad is making that difficult right now.”