It cannot be possible that these guys, even for a hot second, actually believe their own schtick, could it? There’s no way that Rudolph Giuliani, a former mayor who sets the bar for screaming paranoia in a metropolis that teems with it, can seriously think that he’s one to lecture Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the subjects of intelligence or feminism, right? Then again, the man really does fit beautifully into his party’s mass delusion.
This week, Giuliani, a surrogate for fellow bellowing old New Yorker Donald Trump, stated unhesitatingly to a reporter that “Donald Trump is a feminist.” It was a fascinating claim about a candidate whose public commentary on women — up to and including the very day Giuliani made it — has never not left much to be desired.
But Giuliani insisted that Trump is “too reserved and too gentlemanly to say what I would have said. . . . I sure would have talked about what [Hillary Clinton] did to Monica Lewinsky. The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office, and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”
And if there is one thing that should rule a woman out for public service, it’s her husband’s infidelity.
Aside from the brazen illogic of his comments, Giuliani’s strategy here is also weird given Mr. Trump’s — and his own — acknowledged marital track records. We can at least thank Trump’s early dalliances for keeping him out of White House contention for as long as they did; his first wife Ivana has said that his affair with second Mrs. Trump, Marla Maples, “There was no way that he would go into [politics] at that point.”
But sure, it’s all well and good for a man to be deemed qualified for president after becoming a tabloid star for “walking out” on his wife while his much younger mistress boasts about the “best sex I ever had.”
So by Giuliani’s reckoning, in this corner we have Donald Trump, a smiling serial womanizer currently on his third marriage. In the other, we have two women, one of whom Giuliani says was “violated” by Bill Clinton but who herself uses the word “consensual,” and another who for nearly 20 years has endeavored to keep her most intimate feelings about what goes on in her marriage private. Two women who’ve been repeatedly, disgustingly shamed in a way that the man at the center of the story has not.
Thirteen years ago, in her memoir “Living History,” Hillary Clinton wrote, “The most difficult decisions I have made in my life were to stay married to Bill and to run for the Senate from New York.” She recalled that when he first confessed the affair to her, “I was dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged that I’d believed him at all. . . . As a wife, I wanted to wring Bill’s neck.” But by 2014, she could tell ABC’s Diane Sawyer that “I dealt with it at the time, I have moved on, and that’s how I see my life and my future.”
But maybe it’s difficult for Giuliani to understand the concept of “moving on,” especially in the arena where politics and private acts intersect. Back in 2000, both Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were running in New York for the Senate. Giuliani was considered by many the presumptive Republican nominee, until — WAIT FOR IT — speculation about his health and his marriage to second wife Donna Hanover derailed the campaign.
Giuliani’s aspirations screeched to a halt at what The New York Times called an “extraordinary, emotional” May press conference in which he announced that “for quite some time it’s probably been apparent that Donna and I lead in many ways independent and separate lives. It’s been a very painful road and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to formalize that in an agreement that protects our children, gives them all the security and all the protection they deserve, and protects Donna.”
He went on to praise his “very good friend” Judith Nathan, whom he’d been publicly squiring around for several weeks and who went on to become his third wife.
Hanover, meanwhile, was taken by surprise by the announcement, leading the Times to speculate soon after, “If Ms. Hanover was the spurned partner in the marriage, why did she not get to decide how to handle any announcement? Isn’t it only fair that she get to call the shots?”
A few hours after Giuliani’s very public dumping of her, a tearful Hanover told the press, “Today’s turn of events brings me great sadness. I had hoped to keep this marriage together. For several years, it was difficult to participate in Rudy’s public life because of his relationship with one staff member” — an allusion to his former communications director.
Giuliani dropped out of the race a few days later, citing his then-recent prostate cancer diagnosis and saying, “Things happen in life for reasons.” Clinton went on to soundly trounce her Republican opponent Rick Lazio, while Giuliani and his attorney Raoul Felder were being reprimanded by a judge for the “barrage of negative comments” they aimed at Hanover during the divorce proceedings.
Now, the increasingly gross Giuliani, who like Trump has paraded his infidelity around in front of the people of New York, berates Clinton for being “stupid” enough to be cheated on. For believing in a man she loved. But Hillary Clinton can call herself a “former United States senator,” a title that Giuliani has never held.
That wouldn’t have anything to do with his apparent fury now, right? In a few weeks, this same woman will be calling herself “president-elect of the United States of America,” a phrase that will never apply to Trump. And I can promise that plenty of American women are smart enough to see who the real dummies are in this story.