Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) accused President Obama of not loving America and is defending his statement as not being racist because Obama was raised by his white mother and attended a white school.
Giuliani’s accusation was made at a New York fundraising event for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said at the event. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”
Giuliani received harsh criticism over his remarks, with many stating they were racist. He does not agree, arguing it was a critique over Obama’s worldview that was shaped by his upbringing in a white family.
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“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Mr. Giuliani said in an interview with The New York Times. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
Giuliani contends that his remarks were given in response to a question that asked what type of president he would like to see elected in 2016. He told the audience he wants a leader that is the opposite of Obama.
“I want an American president to raise our spirits again, like a Ronald Reagan,” Giuliani said.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz was not at the dinner but expressed his reaction.
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“Mr. Giuliani test-drove this line of attack during his fleeting 2007 run for the presidency … I was obviously not at the dinner last night, nor did I watch the remarks, so I’m going to leave it to those at the dinner to assess whether or not they were appropriate,’’ Schultz said. “But I will say I agree with him on one thing he said today, which is that it was a horrible thing to say.”
Giuliani tried to clarify his remarks more so in an interview on Bloomberg Politics’ “With All Due Respect.”
"Well actually, if I could express it more clearly, what I mean is he doesn’t express it," Huffington Post reports Giuliani said in the interview. “I shouldn’t say that the president does or does not love anything. I don’t know, I’m not a psychiatrist, and he doesn’t have one and he doesn’t need one."
The White House declined to comment.