Democrats on Thursday assailed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for questioning President Barack Obama’s love of country, and urged the potential field of Republican presidential candidates to rebuke him for his comments.
Giuliani said at a New York City event on Wednesday night, “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”
“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,” said Giuliani, who sought the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it’s time for Republican leaders to “stop this nonsense.”
Several likely GOP candidates declined to get involved Thursday. Giuliani, meanwhile, softened his remarks somewhat in an interview, saying he didn’t mean to question the president’s patriotism.
The private dinner was attended by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considering a 2016 campaign. Giuliani said 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,” Giuliani said, addressing Walker. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”
Walker, asked about the comments in an interview with CNBC, did not directly address whether he agreed with the former mayor.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential presidential candidate, defended Giuliani, saying what Obama had “obviously demonstrated for everyone is that he is incapable of successfully executing his duties as our commander in chief.”
Most Republican presidential hopefuls largely avoided the subject. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he had “no doubt” that Obama loves the country, “but I just think his policies are bad for our nation.”