Rudy Giuliani wants a little love, but most likely just some attention, from the president of the United States of America.
The former New York City mayor reportedly said Wednesday night at an event for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) that Barack Obama "doesn't love" America.
“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 reportedly said during a private dinner in New York. “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.”
His remarks, recorded by Politico, were also heard by "60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types" gathered to fete the potential 2016 presidential candidate.
Giuliani added that, “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”
“And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he said. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin governor did not immediately return a request for comment.
The former mayor doubled down on his remarks in an interview with "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning.
“Well first of all, I’m not questioning his patriotism. He’s a patriot, I’m sure,” he said. “What I’m saying is, in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things that I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America.”
What set Giuliani off, apparently, was Obama's refusal to associate violent extremism and groups like the Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS or ISIL, with Islam. The president addressed the criticism Wednesday night by explaining he doesn't use the phrase "radical Islam" because the term grants terrorists a religious legitimacy they don't deserve. But that wasn't enough for the outspoken mayor.
“I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents,” Giuliani said Thursday. “And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter. You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you're not expressing that kind of love we're used to from a president."
Giuliani has spoken out against Obama before. Last year, after the deaths of two New York City police officers at the hands of a man who posted anti-police messages on social media, Giuliani blamed Obama's "propaganda" that was telling everyone to "hate the police." In November, following the death of Michael Brown, he also claimed that police officers would have no business in black communities if "you weren't killing each other."
UPDATE: Walker responded to Giuliani's comments in an interview with CNBC Thursday morning.
"The mayor can speak for himself, I'm not going to comment on what the president thinks or not," the governor said. "I tell you I love America and there are people, Democrat, Republican, Independent, anywhere in between, who love this country. I think we should talk about ways in which we love this country."
Asked whether he thought the comments were offensive, Walker said, "I'm in New York. I'm used to people saying things that are aggressive."