A bnw portrait with a blue overlay with a backdrop of off white described by text in gray and warm red


Factsheet: Rudy Giuliani

Published on 05 Dec 2018

IMPACT: Rudy Giuliani admitted to working with Donald Trump to make his proposed ban on Muslims legal. As mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani employed undercover agents to spy on mosques and continues to support practices of profiling and surveillance of Muslims.

Rudolph Giuliani is the former mayor of New York City (1994-2001) and former Associate Attorney General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1983). Giuliani also serves as an informal advisor to President Trump on cybersecurity.

In a January 2017 appearance on Fox News, Giuliani recounted a conversation he had with Donald Trump shortly after the then-presidential candidate had publicly called for a “ban on Muslims” in December 2015: “So when he first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ … We focused on, instead of religion, danger — the areas of the world that create danger for us. Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis.” Critics, and those challenging the executive order’s constitutionality in court, pointed to Giuliani’s statements as an admission that the “travel ban” executive order was intended as a more palatable version of Trump’s campaign promise for a Muslim ban.

In May 2016, Trump suggested the idea of making Giuliani the head of a commission on “radical Islam” to advise on policy. Giuliani praised the idea, saying it was a “good idea.” Earlier, in December 2015, Giuliani called Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims a violation of the First Amendment with “no reasonable basis.”

In 2010, Giuliani opposed the construction of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” calling it “insensitive” and “provocative.” The campaign against the Islamic center was generated by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who run organizations the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) consider to be anti-Muslim groups.

In his 2016 Republican National Convention speech, Giuliani sought to distance himself from criticism that his positions were anti-Muslim: “For the purposes of the media, I did not say ‘all of Islam.’ I did not say ‘most of Islam.’ I said ‘Islamic extremist terrorism’! You know who you are! And we are coming to get you!” He also said that “failing to identify them promptly maligns all those good Muslims around the world, who are being killed by them. They are killing more Muslims than anyone else.”

In 2016, Giuliani supported the idea that Muslims on the government’s watch list should wear electronic tags and bracelets so their location and whereabouts could be tracked. The former New York City mayor also touted his “counterterror record,” and cited how he “put undercover agents in mosques” after the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six people.

After 9/11, Giuliani publicly rejected the notion that Muslims or those of Arab descent should be collectively held responsible for the act of terrorism on 9/11. In a joint address to the United Nations General Assembly right after 9/11, Giuliani said, “This is not a dispute between religions or ethnic groups. All religions, all decent people are united in their desire to achieve peace and understand that we have to eliminate terrorism. We’re not divided about this.”

In interviews after the 2016 attack in Brussels, Belgium claimed by ISIS, Giuliani said that “some” Muslim neighborhoods should be surveilled and argued that Islam needs a “reformation.” (Journalists and experts have pointed out that there are no “Muslim neighborhoods.”)

Last Updated June 13, 2017