Giuliani: I'd endorse Trump but I don't want to defend him

It took Rudy Giuliani quite some time to publicly state that he would vote for Donald Trump in the New York primary, but the former mayor and presidential hopeful doesn’t want people to assume he endorses Trump. Sure, Giuliani thinks Trump’s the best candidate in the field, he told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly last night, but that’s as far as Giuliani’s prepared to go. Specifically, Giuliani wants to keep his distance from Trump when it comes to having to defend his friend’s public remarks and feuds, especially the one with Kelly herself:

Donald Trump and is voting for him, but when pressed by Megyn Kelly tonight about why he won’t endorse the GOP frontrunner, Giuliani finally got to the reason why.

Firstly, he said, “I’m not part of the campaign. I don’t want anybody to think that I am an official in the campaign.”

Kelly notes that an endorsement doesn’t necessarily confer official campaigner status, but Giuliani offers another bite at the same apple before getting down to the actual problem:

“Nobody thinks that,” she said. “The New York Post endorsed Donald Trump. I don’t think anybody thinks The New York Post is part of the campaign.”

Giuliani explained that’s he’s a “political person” and would have to make speeches and join Trump’s campaign if he endorsed the billionaire mogul, but that he’s not ready to completely rule out working with him.

Perhaps realizing that he’d just made the same argument that Kelly refuted, Giuliani admitted that he’s uncomfortable fronting for Trump:

“If they would make some of the changes, maybe,” he said.

“There’s no question I believe he is the best candidate,” Giuliani added. “And if people want to interpret that as an endorsement, it is, but it doesn’t require any obligation on my part to have to defend every single thing they do.”

The lawyer in Giuliani has gotten the better of him. If he’s going on television to talk about how Trump is the best candidate for the presidency with the implication that others should follow his example, that’s pretty much a de facto personal endorsement, no? If he’s going on prime-time TV to make that argument, there is a need to defend it, even if it’s just for personal credibility. Like it or not, that also involves explaining how making the kind of broad statements about Mexicans that Giuliani denounces here goes into Giuliani’s decision that Trump is the best representative of the GOP in November.

Giuliani wants to eat his cake and have it too by attempting to evade any responsibility for his own choice as a prominent politician in a presidential primary. He could have just voted for his friend and kept quiet about it, or simply said that friendship was the basis for his vote — and many would have respected that kind of loyalty, even if they disagreed with the choice. By ducking these questions, though, Giuliani leaves the impression that he can’t give a credible answer as to why Trump’s public outbursts are overcome by his other talents for the job, which is a pretty weak position for a quasi-surrogate on prime time.

Still, Giuliani’s doing better in that role than Ben Carson.

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David Strom 3:21 PM on March 24, 2023