Rudy Giuliani Was Never a Hero
Heidi Siegmund Cuda investigates the spectacular fall of the former New York Mayor turned Trump associate
On September 12, 2001, America needed a hero. The horror of the attacks the day before — terrorism on US soil — left a gaping hole in the soul of the country.
Nearly 3,000 people perished in the suicide attacks, carried out by 19 terrorists who had hijacked four planes. The first two planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, another crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted, preventing it from reaching its likely target — the nation’s capital.
Suddenly, the mayor of New York City was everywhere. Media appearances around the clock, a 79% approval rating that more than doubled from the 36% rating from the year before — seven years into his administration. Time magazine named him Person of the Year for 2001. It was Rudy Giuliani’s moment of glory.
Like Vladimir Putin, who went from faceless bureaucrat to national hero after multiple apartment bombings in Russia in 1999 killed hundreds of people, Giuliani had become a national figure. Putin, who was on TV vowing revenge each day, used the suspicious and conveniently timed bombings to boost his popularity and to launch the Second Chechen War. He became president just a few months after the bombings.
Giuliani, too, would use his newfound celebrity to attempt runs for higher office.