Rudy Giuliani is grabbing headlines these days as President Donald Trump's attorney. From the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election to the president's relationship with adult film-star Stormy Daniels , Giuliani has taken to the airwaves to offer stunning admissions and to assail the inquiries into the Trump campaign.
Before he took on the task of defending the president, Giuliani was an also-ran GOP presidential candidate and a federal prosecutor who targeted organized crime in New York City. But he was perhaps best known as "America's Mayor" in the aftermath of 9/11.
To get a sense of what Giuliani was like when he was the mayor of New York, KUER News Director Andrew Becker recently sat down with Bill Warren. In the 1990s Warren worked as an assistant press secretary for Mayor Giuliani and later as his chief speechwriter. Today, he is the chief marketing and communications officer for the University of Utah.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: When Giuliani came into office he really needed to reach out to across the aisle. He needed to reach out to Democrats. At that point was that purely a matter of political necessity or was he someone that wanted to work with all New Yorkers?
Warren: I really think that his mindset was quite independent. And I think that he was more interested in working with like-minded people appealing to New Yorkers on the basis of what we have in common. And I think that he believed in his heart that most New Yorkers would get behind that ... that nobody really enjoys a city where petty crime — much less serious violent crime — is allowed just to run rampant. That's just not good for anyone.
Q: So you sat in a very interesting spot, particularly in terms of Rudy Giuliani's background. As a prosecutor, as the U.S. attorney, as the guy that took on the mob: What was his relationship all along with law enforcement and the rule of law?
Warren: I mean he had enormous respect for law enforcement. … In prior administrations he felt that when there had been a controversy, there was a tendency on the part of some public officials to immediately assume the police department was incorrect. He wanted to be in the position of assuming the other — assuming that law enforcement acted properly unless and until such time it was proven otherwise.
Q: How about with the news media? What was Mayor Giuliani's relationship like?
Warren: I think he had a great deal of suspicion toward the media. Now, to be fair, I believe that he was not treated particularly well by, you know, The New York Times, for instance, in his election bid. And I actually think it's a mistake for a public official to assume because a reporter from whatever outlet covers you in a certain way that that's the mindset for the entire publication or the entire press corps. So when the media was working well for him, he — I assume — loved the media. And I think he felt that he could hold his own in any interview in any public setting, so he had a contentious relationship. But it certainly wasn't a fearful relationship with the press, and he certainly never hid from the press.
Q: Did you ever have any exposure to a relationship between Donald Trump and Mayor Giuliani?
Warren: No. I mean the simple answer is: no I never remember encountering encountering Donald Trump when I was with Mayor Giuliani at all. I've encountered him in other ways in New York politics but I don't remember anything about a relationship at that point. Doesn't mean there wasn't one — I wasn't present for everything. And a lot of people have worked for Giuliani over the course of his two terms. So there's other people who may know differently, but I never saw any relationship.
Q: So on a personal level, Bill, when you think about Rudy Giuliani, what what comes to mind?
Warren: There was a person there who really knew what he wanted to achieve. I mean when I did interview with him we talked about his vision for the future of the city of New York, he was so clear and he was so passionate and he was so consistent. And he executed on that vision.