He knew it was wrong but said it anyway. Speaking at a dinner in Manhattan that featured Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he doesn't believe that President Obama "loves America," according to a Politico report.
"I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said Wednesday night. "He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."
| SEE MORE POLITICAL NEWS OF THE WEEK |
The next morning, the former mayor "clarified" his remarks and said he wasn't questioning the president's patriotism bur remarking that Obama is more critical of the U.S. than past presidents.
“What I am saying, is in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear him say the things I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America,” Giuliani told Fox News. “I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he is more of a critic than he is a supporter.”
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, called on Republican leaders to say "Enough!" and denounce such comments, which she said are personal, ugly and bigoted in remarks delivered at the Association of Democratic State Chairs.
"I rarely agreed with President Bush, but I never questioned his love for our country," she said. "I don’t often agree with my Republican colleagues on the Hill, but I know they love America."
Wasserman Schultz, who reportedly is considering a run for the Senate, recalled a time during the 2008 presidential election when Obama's Republican opponent Sen. John McCain defended him after audience members at a campaign event called him a liar, a terrorist and an Arab. The Florida lawmaker criticized Walker for not saying a word in response to Guiliani's remarks and essentially challenged the cast of possible 2016 presidential contenders to follow McCain's example and man up.
"Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Marco Rubio. Now it’s your turn. Chris Christie. Ted Cruz. Rand Paul. Stand up, say ‘Enough.’ Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, Mike Pence, John Kasich and the rest of you,” she said.
Obama spokesman Ed Schulz also denounced Guiliani's remarks. "But I agree with him on one thing: it was a horrible thing to say,” Schulz said.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
BET Politics - Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images)