early and often

Rudy Giuliani Insists He’s Not a Drunk (Again)

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Shutterstock

During the second day of the House’s January 6 hearings, everyone seemed to have something negative to say about Rudy Giuliani. Former members of the Trump administration called Giuliani’s stolen-election claims “nuts,” pointed out that there’s absolutely no evidence to support the wild voter-fraud theories he spewed on Fox News, and described themselves as members of “Team Normal” in contrast to Rudy’s crew of conspiracy theorists (though, to be clear, they all participated in Donald Trump’s effort to steal the election to some degree). The splashiest allegation came from Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller, who said, “I think the mayor was definitely intoxicated” when he urged Trump to just declare victory on Election Night even though votes were still being tallied.

But Giuliani wants the public to know that he was actually totally sober while advising the president to ignore a sizable chunk of legitimately cast ballots. On Monday night, Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, issued a statement to USA Today:

“Mayor Giuliani denies the allegation. Talk to other people that were there that night and they will corroborate the Mayor,” he said in an email. “You might be interested to know that the Select Committee staff counsel never inquired about this subject. I wonder why?”

Costello added: “They never asked whether he had a single drink. No discussion whatsoever.”

Then on Tuesday, Giuliani himself issued a series of tweets insisting he was clearheaded on Election Night. He undermined his case a bit by misspelling Bill Stepien’s name and making a confusing reference to an incident in which he yelled at his former Team Trump colleagues.

You would think Giuliani could put together a better argument for his sobriety since he’s had a bit of practice. Over Bloody Marys with New York’s Olivia Nuzzi in December 2019, the former mayor turned to sarcasm when asked about allegations of alcoholism:

His ex-wife had implied, in an interview with New York, that he was an alcoholic. Others anonymously question his mental state. “Oh yeah, yeah — I do a lot of drugs,” Giuliani said sarcastically. “There was one I was addicted to. I’ve forgotten what it is. I don’t know where the drug things come from — I really don’t. The alcohol comes from the fact that I did occasionally drink. I love Scotch. I can’t help it. All of the malts. And part of it is cigars — I love to have them with cigars. I’m a partyer.”

And in an August 2021 interview with NBC New York, which was pegged to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Giuliani scoffed when asked if alcohol might be to blame for the shift in his public persona.

“I don’t think I’ve ever done an interview drunk. I mean, I drink normally. I like Scotch. I drink Scotch,” he said. “I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a functioning — I probably function more effectively than 90 percent of the population.”

Giuliani’s ineloquent rebuttals are undeniably amusing, and even one of the January 6 hearing witnesses couldn’t help but chuckle as Miller accused the former mayor of being three sheets to the wind on Election Night. But Giuliani’s relationship with alcohol is ultimately not that important to the broader case the January 6 hearings are making against Trump and his associates. Alcohol definitely isn’t to blame for Trump carrying out his plan to prematurely declare victory or for the former mayor’s deep, yearslong involvement in Trump’s plan to subvert democracy. Being drunk is not a crime, of course. And an unusually high percentage of the American people were probably drinking heavily on Election Night 2020 — with good reason.

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Rudy Giuliani Insists He’s Not a Drunk (Again)