And so it came to pass that in his final act as a public figure, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided to steer hard into the land of tin-foil hat-wearing crackpottery, because that was the only thing that would silence the persistent screams of anger inside his head.
Rudy Giuliani is defending his questions about Hillary Clinton’s health ― despite the fact there has been no evidence to contradict her doctor’s report that she’s fit for office ― with the former New York mayor saying in an op-ed that he’s “performing a public service.”
Actually performing a public service here is CNN, which manages to avoid the neutrality trap and report with straitlaced simplicity that there “is no credible evidence to support the claims of doubts about Clinton’s health.” This is no mean feat for the news network, which had previously been known to do things like air suspicions that maybe the Confederate States of America were on to something.
Believe it or not, it used to be the case that “campaign surrogates” would use their own experience to articulate the policy distinctions between the candidate they supported and their competitors, using a mix of fame, know-how and relatability to persuade different audiences. It was actually rare for a presidential candidate’s proxies to simply pass along the content of the chain emails forwarded by your Aunt Belinda as if it were something that might drive the turnout of independent voters or flip a state in the Electoral College.
But that was a more innocent era. Per CNN, Giuliani is acting on the behalf of GOP nominee and inside-out hand puppet Donald Trump, for whom fanning the flames of conspiracy theory is a vital and necessary part of his campaign ― or, indeed, his life in politics. It remains an open question as to when, if ever, this campaign is going to finally get down to the business of criticizing policy.
At any rate, the former mayor and presidential candidate has taken to this hustle with aplomb.
Giuliani also argued that “some in the news media have already begun to raise these same questions,” pointing to Fox News’ Sean Hannity and the news aggregator the Drudge Report ― two leaders in the conservative news world that have loudly promoted the Clinton health conspiracy theory.
Don’t forget Infowars!
And Giuliani addressed criticism of an interview he conducted on Fox News, during which he told viewers to “go online and put down ‘Hillary Clinton illness.’”
“I did not come to a conclusion on this matter; I simply asked people to draw their own conclusions,” Giuliani wrote.
Can jet fuel really melt steel beams? I’ve not arrived at a conclusion, I’m simply asking people to draw their own conclusions.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.