With former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani newly relevant, thanks to Donald Trump, it seems to be a good time to remind people that he was problematic way before he became Trump’s favorite liar.
To wit, we can look back at his actions after the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.
Just after the destruction of World Trade Center buildings, questions began to circulate about the air quality both in the direct vicinity of the buildings, and in the general area.
At first, when Giuliani was asked about the likelihood of asbestos or other toxins in the air, the former mayor stated:
“There are concerns about asbestos and at this point it does not appear as if there is an undue amount of asbestos in the atmosphere but those are very preliminary tests.”
Initial testing of the air showed high level of asbestos in Lower Manhattan, but those results were thought to be anomalies. Making such a mistake so soon after a devastating terrorist attack might be understandable, if not excusable, but what happened less than a week later shows the remarkable negligence of Giuliani.
On the Friday immediately following 9/11, Congressman Jerrold Nadler established the Ground Zero Elected Officials Task Force. Nadler and others were skeptical about the official air quality findings and decided to perform private testing. At that time, City Councilwoman Kathryn Freed and city council candidate Alan Gerson “snuck [scientists] past the barricades and they took the first independent measurements of both air quality and asbestos debris within residential apartments.”
Those tests showed high levels of hazard materials, and the results were immediately submitted to Giuliani’s office. Giuliani ignored those test results, and continued to say that the air was safe in the following months.
Of course, the American public now knows that the air clearly was unsafe and that many first responders to the 9/11 attacks have suffered and died due to the hazardous air quality. And that’s not to even mention the residents and employees who, after being told the air was safe, returned to the area much sooner than they would have, if given all of the facts. Giuliani has been a trash human being as far back as 2001. Why should he be any different now?
Hillary Clinton, then Junior Senator for the state of New York, responded to Giuliani’s idiocy by ripping him a new one, saying:
“Maybe in the immediate aftermath, the first couple of days, nobody could know. But a week later? Two weeks later? Two months later? Six months later? Give me a break! They knew and they didn’t tell us the truth.”