Forget Donald Trump, America has a new comedian-in-chief and his name is Rudy Giuliani
Yonden Lhatoo recommends the best show on television these days – the astonishing public displays of buffoonery by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to the US president’s legal team
“Are you not entertained?” Russell Crowe demands to know from his bloodthirsty audience after he slaughters his hapless opponents in the arena in Gladiator.
I feel like a member of those ancient Colosseum crowds deriving voyeuristic pleasure from violence, except that I’m going for goof-ups over gore as I watch the Circus Maximus of Washington politics these days on live television.
I’m taking a break from the gamut of emotions – from surprise and concern to disbelief and horror – that US President Donald Trump and his cohorts routinely provoke, and I’m sitting back to relish the sheer entertainment value of their shenanigans.
Forget about movies, sitcoms or reality shows; there’s nothing as good on television (until the final season of Game of Thrones lands next year).
And forget Trump, too. He appears to have passed on the mantle of America’s comedian-in-chief to his friend and lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
It’s guaranteed, jaw-dropping entertainment as the former New York mayor hits the airwaves with foot firmly jammed in mouth. Giuliani is already notorious for making stupid remarks in the past, but he’s back in the silly spotlight on steroids.
First, he made Trump look like an unmitigated liar by confirming that his boss had reimbursed the hush money that fixer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels to shut her up about the sexcapade she claims to have had with the president. He even suggested Cohen was operating a slush fund for Trump to pay off others when necessary.
That was also when he summed up the Trump administration’s ethos with seemingly asinine but unwittingly revealing quotes such as, “Those are the facts that we’re still working on”, and “I don’t know how you separate fact and opinion”.
Next, Giuliani directly contradicted Trump’s narrative on a more damning note by declaring that the president had fired James Comey as FBI director for refusing to announce publicly that his boss was not under investigation in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion probe.
He later embellished it with the assertion that Trump could simply pardon himself if he chose to. Plus he ramped up the rhetoric to proclaim that Trump could have shot Comey to end the Russia investigation and would still have been immune from prosecution while in office.
To think this man was once a respected lawyer.
Then he bit off more than he could chew by claiming to know for a fact that first lady Melania Trump had accepted her husband’s denial about the porn star business, prompting her spokeswoman to retort, “I don’t believe Mrs Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr Giuliani.” Miaow.
In his latest faux pas, Giuliani put Trump’s on-again, off-again summit with North Korea’s leader at risk with this reckless claim: “Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.”
Knowing how touchy the North Koreans could be, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to issue a clarification that Giuliani was not speaking for the US government and played no role in foreign policy.
As amateurishly insane as all of this sounds, it may well be the case that Trump is using Giuliani for political rather than legal impact, sending him out there to confuse and distract everyone with his buffoonery, while he’s hired a real lawyer, Emmett Flood, to counter the Mueller investigation.
Flood was the man who ran former president Bill Clinton’s impeachment defence, so you know that at the end of the day, Trump is smart enough to rely on a hard core legal eagle who uniquely specialises in ensuring American presidents remain in office.
Whatever may be the case, wherever the truth lies, are you not entertained? I am, and then some.
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post