Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who enjoyed a brief run as an American hero in the early 2000s, marked the 18th anniversary of 9/11 by tweeting a bizarre, fascistic video at 1:53 a.m. on Wednesday. The only text accompanying the clip: “GOD BLESS AMERICA!”
The video of a proud police officer preparing to battle left-wing protesters is a lightly edited version of an ad made last year by Grunt Style, a clothing brand whose mission “is to deliver the highest quality, most patriotic apparel on the planet.” The clip went viral with right-wingers who dug the company’s highly obvious marketing gimmick. Grunt Style said the ad, which it released close to the Super Bowl, could have been submitted to run during the game. Instead, it saved the money and pretended to be a victim of the censors.
“This commercial was intended to be our commercial in the Big Game (you know the one),” Grunt Style says on YouTube. “We weren’t denied or rejected by anyone, it was our own decision to not run it. In the end we just couldn’t take the big money risk.”
It’s no surprise to see Giuliani, who now works as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, glorifying authoritarianism. The mayor was compared to Mussolini years before 9/11 and has started to emulate his new boss in recent years. But it’s still notable to see him boosting such a blatant piece of divisive propaganda on the anniversary of an event that prompted him, three weeks after 9/11, to say this at the United Nations:
You can’t walk a block or two blocks in New York City without seeing somebody that looks different than you, acts different than you, talks different than you, believes different than you. If you grow up in New York City you learn that and then you learn something — if you’re an intelligent or decent person — you learn that all those differences are nothing in comparison to the things that unite us. We’re a city of immigrants unlike any other city — within a nation of immigrants. Like the victims of the World Trade Center attack, we’re of every race; we’re of every religion; we’re of every ethnicity; and our diversity has been our greatest source of strength. It’s the thing that renews us and revives us in every generation, our openness to new people from all over the world.