An Oral History of Rudy Giuliani's Temper
Before he decided that September 11 was his own personal self-aggrandizement machine, Rudy Giuliani pissed off a whole slew of people in a remarkable number of ways. A look at the dark, petty, vindictive, small-minded maneuvering of “America’s mayor”
“Hello, dear. I’m talking to the members of the NRA right now.” Rudy Giuliani’s wife had reached him on his cell as he stood on a dais in Washington, D.C., in September. “I love you,” he went on, “and I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m finished.” Putting aside what appeared to be the painfully obvious staging of the scene, its message was clear: Giuliani is not only hard as nails when it comes to criminals and terrorists and freedom-threatening immigrants; he also has a soft candy center. But for those in New York who’ve witnessed firsthand the workings of this most autocratic of mayors, the ruse was as crude as that employed by the three-card-monte dealers he so gleefully swept off the city’s streets. GQ tracked down all the sources bold enough to talk—even some still constrained by pledges of loyalty—and asked them to help us understand the man and the atomic temper he’s trying so hard to live down.
DAN COLLINS (coauthor, Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11): I think he has a problem with his temper.
STANLEY FRIEDMAN (former Bronx Democratic Party chairman): And if you want witnesses to that, I’m sure none will talk to you.
ED KOCH (former mayor of New York City): Anybody I know would be afraid to talk to the press about Giuliani. They don’t want to incur his anger. I don’t give a shit.
ERIC LANE (former executive director, New York City Charter Revision Commission): He’s running for president. There’s far too much at stake. What if something slipped out? What if he wanted to blame someone for screwing up a quote?
MARK GREEN (former New York City public advocate; Air America president): I remember going to public events and chatting with people I liked in the Giuliani administration, and when the press approached they would melt away. That happened again and again. They didn’t want to be in the same camera shot with me because they were afraid of what Rudy might say.
COLLINS: One of his closest guys is Denny Young. If Rudy sees something in the papers that pisses him off, Denny tries to calm him down. That was Denny’s job—to keep Rudy on the straight and narrow as far as excesses of his temper and angry phone calls to reporters. To almost anyone.
LOUIS ANEMONE (retired chief, NYPD): He has this streak, Rudy, where he looks for unnecessary confrontations. Is he overcompensating? I sure as hell don’t know. But I worked with men, I worked with real men, and they didn’t have to do that. They knew where and when someone had to get knocked on their ass.
RANDY MASTRO (longtime aide): I’ve seen a person who has taken on enormous challenges and enormous pressures and has handled them with grace, wisdom, authority, and leadership.
JERRY HAUER (former director, New York City Office of Emergency Management): Rudy has this litigious nature about him where he’s out to screw anybody that doesn’t go along with what he wants.
PETER POWERS (former first deputy mayor; chairman, Giuliani Partners): I’ll leave it to his detractors to think if he overstepped. I’m not going to comment on whether I thought he overstepped.
FLOYD ABRAMS (constitutional lawyer): A few months ago, I spoke with a person I know well, a very conservative former federal prosecutor. I asked him if he was surprised at how well Giuliani seemed to be doing in the polls. He said no; he thought he was a good candidate. I said, “Are you supporting him?” And he looked at me and said, “Well, no. I know him.”
In 1989, Giuliani, running as a moderate Republican, lost to David Dinkins, a Democrat, in the closest mayoral election in New York City since 1905. Four years later, Giuliani ran again, this time on a law-and-order platform calculated to appeal to conservative white outer-borough voters. On September 16, 1992, before he had announced his candidacy, Giuliani addressed New York City police officers at a City Hall rally.
ROBERT POLNER (former reporter, Newsday): It was a rally against Dinkins for trying to create the Civilian Complaint Review Board, in order to field police-
WAYNE BARRETT (reporter, The Village Voice; author, Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani): I don’t think there’s ever been a time when he publicly lost his cool more than at the police riot of 1992.
ERIC ADAMS (retired captain, NYPD; state senator): The police department was angry to the point of obsession about Dinkins’s election. The cops hated having a black mayor.
FREDDY MALDONADO (retired captain, NYPD): The police department is still run by Irish and Italians. That day they were calling Dinkins “the washroom attendant.” Giuliani heard the comments, he saw the signs, he didn’t tone it down. That’s a real dog day in history. There were thousands of white cops there. Who was riling them up? Giuliani.
ADAMS: Giuliani should have been arrested for inciting the riot, because he worked those guys up into a frenzy.
BARRETT: Thousands of cops were shouting epithets and overturning vehicles.
AL SHARPTON (political activist): According to all reports, many in the crowd were using the N-word, and he led chants of “Bullshit!”
DAVID SEIFMAN (City Hall bureau chief, The New York Post): I know officials whose cars were trampled. Cops jumped on the top of the cars and the roofs caved in.
POLNER: Giuliani had a bullhorn. Dinkins wasn’t in his office at the time, but the cops who were marauding seemed intent on breaking in, so he had to do something he rarely did, which is lock down City Hall. That’s how pitched it got.
SHARPTON: Can you imagine if I led a rally like that, what they would do to me? That would be all you would see about me when I ran for president. These are policemen who are engaged in property damage and violence. It was stunning. And Giuliani led it.
BARRETT: And the terrible thing was not just that he said “Bullshit! Bullshit!” at a race riot, but that he gets in the car afterward and he thinks everything’s gone terrific. He said so to an aide! He can’t see—he’s blind, really, to his own personal explosiveness. In the vulnerability study they did, his own staff said that this was one of his worst moments ever, and that they feared it in the ’93 campaign. It never really became a major issue because no television stations ever played the tape. They’ll have to explain why.
Giuliani narrowly won election as mayor of New York City thanks to the overwhelming support of the city’s white ethnic stronghold, Staten Island, where he took more than 80 percent of the vote.
GREEN: On inauguration day, I was told I had ten minutes to speak. I just talked about how I wanted to help everyone in the city prosper, and I used a few metaphors that may have struck some chords. Within a day, his chief deputy called me and said, “Mark, the mayor didn’t like your speech.” I said, “Excuse me?” Apparently, the mayor hadn’t liked my remarks because they sounded “mayoral.” I said, “Well, I don’t work for the mayor. I’m independently elected.”
POLNER: At press conferences, he’d walk into the room as if it were booby-trapped. If things weren’t going his way, he’d turn on his heels and storm off. He announced one day that he was offering a billion dollars in subsidies to keep the stock market in Lower Manhattan. I asked him to explain to the average New Yorker why one of the wealthiest institutions in America should be receiving such a gigantic public subsidy. I felt like he was going to leap across the entire room and grab me by the throat. He snapped, “Your question is simplistic and inaccurate, and the amount is much less,” and so on. When you saw the fine print, it was in fact a billion dollars. That was characteristic of him, to lash out when you had a good, legitimate story.
GREEN: After his first city budget had been negotiated, Giuliani told the speaker, “Oh, one more thing. I want Mark Green’s office cut by a third.” Everybody else was taking 10 percent cuts. Giuliani got abusive but the speaker was adamant, so the budget went forward without the cuts.
Under newly appointed police commissioner William Bratton, the NYPD focused on quality-of-life offenses and produced an astounding reduction in crime in New York City. Bratton was celebrated around the world for his success.
ADAMS: I’ll never forget having dinner with my good friend Jack Maple, deputy police commissioner, at the peak of his success. Jack and Bratton started the crime decrease in New York. I told him, “Y’all are on top!” And he says, “Giuliani is having a problem with Bratton’s popularity.”
ANEMONE: Giuliani was angry that Bratton had the cover of Time magazine. They searched for reasons to get rid of him. Giuliani used city agencies to look at the fact that Bratton accepted a plane ride.
ADAMS: Bratton said you hit the beats with quality-of-life policing—everything from jumping the turnstile to pissing in the corner. The people who were carrying out these actions were the same people who were contributing to a state of anarchy. Then you start building relationships with the good people who’d been living in fear. But Giuliani said, “John in the Bronx is drinking a beer at the softball game. Lock his ass up for that beer.” Bratton said, “This is not how it’s supposed to work.” And Giuliani said, “It’s time for you to go.” Bratton hated going after the nine-to-five guy for bullshit. He wanted to go after the guys who were destroying the city.
FRED SIEGEL (author, The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life): The biggest mistake Giuliani made was pushing Bratton out.
The next commissioner, Howard Safir, lacked his predecessor’s feeling for community relations. With Giuliani’s encouragement, he had his men conduct random—often assaultive—street searches of minority civilians at an unprecedented rate. The result was a series of shocking cases in which police brutalized or killed unarmed black and Hispanic victims.
POLNER: Bratton has said that by Giuliani’s second term, the city had calmed down. But Giuliani, even in the face of objections from high-level people in the police department, wanted to increase the size of the Street Crime Unit, the one that was involved with the Amadou Diallo shooting.
SHARPTON: Here’s Diallo, an unarmed man, shot forty-one times.
SAIKOU DIALLO (Amadou Diallo’s father): I thought my son was just killed by coincidence, that it was a one-time mistake. But so many more families who were surrounding us had been victimized by the police. They have pictures of their sons and daughters, the photos pinned on their clothes. I looked on the TV and I saw Giuliani defend the police. So I understand that something more than my son was happening here.
BARRETT: After almost every shooting, he would say almost instantly that the police were justified. Without really knowing the facts of the case, he would say it.
ADAMS: The police in the city reached a level where they felt untouchable. Think about what [police officer Justin] Volpe did. He brought [Abner Louima] into the bathroom, broke off the handle of the broomstick, and sodomized him. Sodomized him! What comfort does one have to have to believe that one can even get away with that?
BARRETT: During his reelection campaign, he appointed a task force to examine the Louima case. It came out with an extraordinarily detailed volume of recommendations. After he was safely reelected, he rejected every recommendation but one: He agreed to change the name of one law-enforcement agency.
MARIE ANDRE DORISMOND (sister of Patrick Dorismond): Patrick was leaving work with three friends. The cops approached him and asked, “Do you know where I could get some weed?” He said no. They’re trying to meet their arrest quota for the night, and they’re altercating, trying to start an argument with him, and this officer, who was wearing a wire, said the password: “What are you trying to do, rob me?” Other cops come running, and one of them has the gun in his hand already, and he shot my brother straight through the chest and killed him in his aorta.
SANFORD RUBINSTEIN (civil rights attorney): At his press conference, Giuliani said that Patrick Dorismond wasn’t an altar boy. In fact, he was an altar boy. But what was significant was that his administration allowed sealed family court records to be released in an obvious attempt to dirty up the victim.
SHARPTON: Like somebody has to be an altar boy not to be shot by police.
DORISMOND: My brother had a juvenile incident with another kid. Giuliani tried to make it look like my brother was a thug who didn’t come from a very good family. My brother went to Bishop Loughlin High School, just like Giuliani.
MARGARITA ROSARIO (mother of Anthony Rosario): Two police officers came here to tell me that the cops had had a shoot-out with my son and his cousin, and that both of the kids were killed. I did not believe that. [The medical examiner] called me up the day after the autopsy, and she said the kids had been shot multiple times while they were facedown on the floor. From time to time, I would see Giuliani speak on the news and defend these two officers. I called him on his radio show, and he said I should look at my background, the way I was raised, the church I went to, how I raised my child. That as a mother, I didn’t do the right job. But I wonder if he would say the same thing to Volpe’s mother.
JOESEPH LHOTA (deputy mayor under Giuliani): Rudy Giuliani in many ways has the same skill set that a priest and a minister have in consoling people.
BARRETT: You can understand that, as a policy imperative, he thinks the police have to be defended. But there’s no requirement that the parents have to be attacked. That’s why he was so mistrusted and despised by the black people of New York.
CHARLIE RANGEL (U.S. congressman, D-N.Y.): I guess the best contribution that Giuliani ever made to the African-American community is just not meeting with them. And that included the state comptroller and the borough president.
C. VIRGINIA FIELDS (former borough president, Manhattan): Was there a period when Rudy stopped talking to me? Well, actually, he never started.
KOCH: I said to him, “Why won’t you meet with them?” His answer was incredible: “I don’t agree with them.” I said, “Rudy, you only meet with people you agree with?”
H. CARL McCALL (former state comptroller, New York): I was in fact the highest elected black official in the state, and we met once during the entire eight years that he was mayor and I was the state comptroller. I’m not sure what the disagreement was.
KOCH: I remember the leadership in the black and Hispanic communities would come to me and say, “He’s a racist!” I would say, “He’s not. He’s nasty to everybody.”
GILLIAN SORENSEN (assistant secretary-general, United Nations): In 1995, the New York Philharmonic performed a concert honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. More than a thousand people attended, including many presidents and prime ministers. We were backstage with his aide, Randy Mastro, and suddenly the mayor saw Yasir Arafat in the audience. The mayor went ballistic. He totally exploded. He turned red in the face, he started waving his arms, he yelled at his trembling aide as if he were a worm, he yelled at me in language that I have not in my entire life been spoken to with. He jumped up and down. I have never seen a grown person act like a 3-year-old, but that is the way I have to describe it.
MASTRO: Up close and personal, I have seen how much his creativity, courage, and tenacity are an asset.
SORENSEN: I said to him, “Mr. Mayor, Arafat has been invited.” And the mayor yelled at me, “I don’t want to hear it!” He told Mastro to tell Arafat to get out. I urged him not to do that, but he was utterly out of control. Arafat apparently told Mastro, “We will leave when we are ready.” And he stayed for about the first two movements of Beethoven’s Ninth, and then quietly he slipped out. I’m not making a case that Arafat was a wonderful man. But he was a leader; he was invited. Giuliani didn’t like Arafat; he disagreed with him. To insult him achieved nothing. Giuliani talks about this today as if it was great statesmanship.
ALFONSE D’AMATO (former U.S. senator, R-N.Y.): I would say his endorsement of [Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Mario Cuomo was probably one of the low points in his political life.
KOCH: I got a call from Giuliani during the gubernatorial election between Pataki and Cuomo. I had been on the radio criticizing [Giuliani’s] administration for taking down Pataki’s placards from the trees. He wasn’t taking down the placards of Mario Cuomo. I was home; there was a call from City Hall. Rudy gets on: “Ed, you’re all wrong about the placards. It’s against the law to put them on the telephone poles and trees.” I said, “Rudy, I know it’s against the law. I’m the one who initiated that law. But it’s understood you don’t enforce that law until after the election.” He says, “Don’t interrupt me.” I thought, Who does he think he is? So I took the phone and I put it in the crook of my arm, and I started to do other things that I needed to do, having nothing to do with him.
Mayor Giuliani inherited a city wracked by homelessness and AIDS, yet he immediately set about eviscerating New York’s social services and actively defied the landmark 1979 case establishing a legal right to shelter.
MARY BROSNAHAN (executive director, Coalition for the Homeless): We dogged him. I remember getting word that he was about to speak at Port Authority on homelessness. We had something like fifty homeless people go and confront him and shout him down. And I remember him giving me this seething, furious look, like, “I’m gonna win, and you’re totally fucked when I do.” On the one hand, he was dismantling the right to shelter, ejecting people who were found in noncompliance of administrative rules; on the other, he was directing police to arrest homeless people who refused to go into shelters. Nobody could follow that logic. Our pro bono ad company produced an ad showing a stereotypical out-of-it homeless guy pushing a cart down the street. The text read, “Deranged, delusional, and dangerous. But enough about Mayor Giuliani—let’s talk about the homeless.”
CHRISTOPHER DUNN (associate legal director, New York Civil Liberties Union): Giuliani had very little tolerance for protests. It just wasn’t a form of citizen activity that he respected.
ARMEN MERJIAN (senior staff attorney, Housing Works): We provide social services for people living with HIV and AIDS, and Giuliani was so enraged by Housing Works’ persistent though fair criticism of his policies that he canceled $20 million in city contracts.
MATTHEW BRINCKERHOFF (counsel, Housing Works): We have him on tape getting very upset at a press conference when asked about Housing Works. He’s just sick of them. He throws up his hands, and he’s like, “Ugh! Housing Works!” and he stomps off the podium.
MERJIAN: He advanced a subterfuge that there were accounting irregularities in Housing Works’ books. Housing Works sued him, and ultimately the city, at taxpayer expense, was forced to settle the case for $4.8 million in taxpayer money.
BRINCKERHOFF: The city denied us about $3 million in HUD funds that was due us. The judge suggested strongly that the city just give us the money, because it’s no harm to them, right? And that we on our side forgo any right to the attorneys’ fees we were entitled to and agree to a gag order. Housing Works’ primary concern was just getting the money to operate, so we agreed. The city was told they were going to lose, yet they ended up not agreeing. It was on the front page of the Times. Rudy was given the opportunity to walk away with no bad press, without a penny of city money being spent on anything. And he completely lost it and started screaming, “There’s no way! I will never settle this case! You can forget about it!” I think the judge was trying to confirm what he’d intuited, which is that this was really about Giuliani’s vindictiveness. And that confirmed it.
MERJIAN: Giuliani’s lawyers were so intransigent in the cases against him and so impervious to any reasonable settlement offers that at one point a judge exclaimed, “All the defendants are asking for is that you comply with existing laws. I thought this was New York, not Mississippi!”
BROSNAHAN: A young white woman was smashed in the head with a brick on the street, and Giuliani said that this underscored why we needed to arrest all the homeless people. In the press conference, we handed out a list of questions that we felt reporters needed to ask him. When Giuliani said that the advocates for the homeless had psychiatric problems, one of the TV reporters said, “Mary Brosnahan is right here. Do you want to tell her what your diagnosis is?” The color drained out of his face. “This is a setup!” he shouted and stormed out. He was just apoplectic. He told the police he wanted me arrested for trespassing. They caught the thug eventually, and he wasn’t a homeless person. But we’re still dealing with this. One of the last things Giuliani did before he left office was appeal the right to shelter.
MERJIAN: Another lawsuit that we had to bring had to do with the conditions in the housing where the Giuliani administration was placing people: facilities where the management was involved in money laundering and drug dealing, where bathrooms were not at all maintained, where the security was such that people were murdered, where there was a lack of elevators so that people living with AIDS passed out crawling up stairs on their hands and knees.
POWERS: I can’t explain to you what it was like every day going into City Hall, the criticism and the vicious remarks. We were accused of hurting the poor and being insensitive and everything, when you knew you were right and you had to stick to your guns. That’s the essence of Rudy Giuliani.
ABRAMS: A professor at NYU School of Law was quoted by the AP as saying that she could teach a whole course on the First Amendment just on cases involving Giuliani.
LANE: Giuliani’s sense that he has to control everything was ridiculous. He even tried to impose his tastes, in the Brooklyn Museum thing.
ABRAMS: He focused on a single picture by a distinguished English-Nigerian artist which showed a colorfully clad black woman as the Virgin Mary. I know he had not seen the painting. Through an aide, he had a journalist ask him about it at a press conference, where he exploded—the art was “sick” and “an outrage,” and the city would take away the museum’s funding because the painting had elephant dung on it, which is used routinely in Nigeria for decorative purposes. He said he was going to evict the museum from the building it had occupied since the end of the nineteenth century, and that they would throw out the board and appoint a new one.
HAUER: I was at the press conference when he went through that fit of hysteria. I was standing behind him, and the minute he went off on his rant, I started backing up to get out of the shot, because I didn’t want to be on TV that night associated with his craziness.
ABRAMS: My reaction was partly one of disbelief. One of the most clearly established, least ambiguous principles of First Amendment law is that the state may not act to retaliate against speech of which it disapproves. This was retaliation. He was outraged. He was filled with fury. I don’t think he cared what the law was. I think he thought that First Amendment law is for Upper West Side liberals to play around with. The resolution was a complete humiliation for him—a court order repeatedly mentioning him by name, and eventually agreed to by him, that said he would not treat the museum differently from any other museum in the future or attempt to reduce its funding.
MARCIA PAUL (attorney): New York magazine had placed an ad on the sides of New York City buses featuring its logo and the words possibly the only good thing in new york rudy hasn’t taken credit for. I received a phone call in which I was advised that Rudy had called the Metropolitan Transit Authority and demanded that the ads be taken down. The ads were summarily removed, and the magazine wanted to know what it could do. This was Rudy exercising his political muscle to make things happen without going the normal legal route. A judge’s decision required the city to put the ads back up. The MTA sent an emergency appeal and a stay of the judge’s order. The stay was denied and we won the appeal. Then they petitioned the Supreme Court, which refused to hear it. Almost every single night, Rudy would have a news conference. New York got far more publicity through Rudy’s uncontrollable need to talk about the ad every night on the news than it ever would have gotten otherwise. I still don’t get it. One wonders more than anything else whether the man has a sense of humor.
Despite a burgeoning crisis in New York City’s public schools, the mayor engaged in political combat, not cooperation, with a series of unhappy chancellors and boards.
KAREN FINNEY (director of communications for chancellor Harold Levy): Harold Levy became chancellor immediately after his predecessor was ousted by Mayor Giuliani, but he wasn’t the mayor’s choice. For the first several months of Levy’s tenure, Mayor Giuliani refused to meet with him. You have 1.1 million children in New York City public schools, 80,000 teachers. What kind of person, what kind of leader just says, I’m not going to talk to the schools chancellor just because he wasn’t my pick?
RANDI WEINGARTEN (president, United Federation of Teachers): Once I said on the radio that I wasn’t going to rule out a strike. I heard over the course of the next few days that he was infuriated and that his staff was looking for a way to put me in jail. It was just ridiculous.
ANEMONE: Another schools chancellor was understood to be gay, though not publicly or openly. So the mayor was asked a question at a press conference about the differences between his plan for education and the chancellor’s, and his answer was, “The little victim,” “so precious.” That was code, and everyone who lived in the city knew what he was saying. That was just mean. The mayor really enjoyed doing that.
FINNEY: After 9/11, there were concerns about contaminants in the air. Rudy pressured the chancellor to reopen seven schools near the World Trade Center. He wanted to show that we were getting back to normal. He was under a lot of pressure from Wall Street. But all of our data showed that the air quality was incredibly dangerous for children. Rudy didn’t care. Levy made it very clear that he was not going to reopen the schools until the air quality was appropriate for children. Rudy was just enraged. He was unwilling to listen to scientific evidence. Why? Because he wanted what he wanted, and that’s all he could see.
WEINGARTEN: One day, after a State of the City address, it was snowing. He had just taken the school system apart in his speech. It was a bravura performance, so disconcerting, so dispiriting and disheartening. And I see him outside City Hall, and I did not have my coat on. He had just ripped right into the school system and the union, but he looked at me and said—and his tone was quite caring—“You have to wear a coat. Why are you not wearing a coat?” I said something like “My blood’s burning enough right now that I don’t need to.” He just laughed. I remember thinking, Is this real, or is it all a game to him?
COLLINS: I think he just lacks a basic sense of empathy. It’s not an unusual characteristic in a criminal prosecutor. Look at his relationship with his children, his divorcing his wife at a press conference.
POLNER: I actually covered that. We went over to Bryant Park for some kind of event. Rudy and his people kept huddling and talking, and the event was delayed and delayed. They seemed very nervous and charged. And then they gathered us in the restaurant there, and Rudy announced that he had a “special friend” in his life and that she had helped him through his prostate cancer. He went on to talk about his love for this woman and that he would be leaving Donna Hanover. Pretty soon after the press conference, it emerged that Donna Hanover didn’t know. She learned about it on the news. And this affair had gone on for ten months. She came out of Gracie Mansion that evening around five o’clock and was fighting back tears. The two kids were old enough to really be hurt by this. You can see now that they are taking their mom’s side and want nothing to do with their father, who wants to be an American father figure.
ANEMONE: It took an event the size of 9/11 for this son of a gun to show the slightest bit of human compassion.
GREEN: I don’t think it’s arguable that he rose to the occasion on that day and immediately afterward and struck the right note of compassion and strength.
GABE PRESSMAN (chairman, Freedom of the Press Committee, New York Press Club): My most vivid memories of Rudy were right after 9/11, when he quickly shut off the World Trade Center area to television crews. All this in the name of God knows what. There were no explanations given.
SIEGEL: He’s best in crisis. He is not a man for all seasons. His oversize personality will capsize the ship of state in calm waters.
GLENN CORBETT (associate professor of fire science, Department of Public Management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice): If we’re going to be invaded by a whole army of squeegee men from abroad, then maybe he’s your guy. But he’s basically running on his 9/11, um, what he calls credentials. What’s weird about this whole situation is that people across the country think that Rudy is tremendously beloved by the emergency responders. And it’s the complete opposite. We knew that communications were an issue after [the radios failed during] the 1993 bombing, and they used the same radios on 9/11.
MALDONADO: There were recommendations made years ago that were never complied with, which would have given the fire department the ability to communicate with the police department. When the order was given to evacuate the towers, the firefighters didn’t receive it.
CORBETT: Giuliani basically made a claim at the 9/11 hearings in 2004 that these emergency responders chose to stay behind and rescue people. They essentially decided to ignore the evacuation order. And of course, this whole situation revolves around the fact that you have to hear an evacuation order to follow it. And if your radios are not working, then how are you going to hear that message? The other presidential candidates will not bring this up. They will not talk about it. It’s like a third rail for them. We feel a moral obligation to say something about this.
RAYMOND HORTON (Frank R. Lautenberg professor of ethics and corporate governance, Columbia Business School): To me, 9/11 symbolizes the worst of Rudy, not the best of Rudy. Because his immediate response was that we should suspend the mayoral elections so he could be mayor beyond his term. It gave him a second life, politically. He was dead and gone politically until 9/11.
LANE: There was a serious conversation about the charter and term limits, about whether or not he could run again. I was asked by people who had power how I would finagle that, if I were doing it. They wisely decided that it would have looked horrible. I was thinking at the time, Wow, he envisions himself as indispensable.
POLNER: Jimmy Breslin calls him a small man in search of a balcony.
KOCH: He couldn’t have been elected dogcatcher on 9/10.
HAUER: The minute I endorsed Mark Green [as Giuliani’s successor], some detective took away my credentials to Ground Zero. When my staff heard, they had ten more sets of credentials produced and delivered to me surreptitiously, just because they hated Rudy. He threw his hissy fit. He called me on my cell phone, and I had horrible reception, so I could barely hear him. He thought I was playing games with him. He’s got such a frail ego. I said, “Mayor, I can barely hear you.” And he said, “I heard you endorsed Mark Green today with Bratton.” He didn’t like Bratton, and he particularly hated Mark Green. He said, “If you do that, you’re done.” He started yelling and screaming, and I couldn’t tell what he was saying, so I just hung up. Within an hour, two of his aides were calling the press, talking about how I was gone.
POLNER: During all this hero worship going on in the national press, he had one of his last town-hall meetings. It was in a Bronx high school, and he lashed out at a teacher for saying that he didn’t know anything about the schools, that the schools are still a mess, that there was too much overcrowding in the classroom, that you can’t teach that way. I remember he just laid into her. He said that it was people like her who were responsible for the lamentable state of the New York City school system. I remember chuckling to myself in the audience: That’s the Giuliani I know. Okay, we’re getting back to normal here.
POWERS: I’ve known him fifty years. And I’ve never seen him lose his temper. No way.
Reported by Hilary Elkins, Alex French, David Gargill, Randy Hartwell, Cole Louison, Laurence Lowe, Raha Naddaf, and Alexander Provan.
Illustration by Zohar Lazar