Giuliani steals show at RNC with call for law and order in the wake of police deaths

Jon Lentz
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani steals show at RNC with call for law and order in the wake of police deaths

Giuliani steals show at RNC with call for law and order in the wake of police deaths
July 19, 2016

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sparked a thunderous response Monday night at the Republican National Convention when he said Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, would restore respect for law and order in a nation shaken by the murders of eight local police officers.

“The vast number of Americans do not feel safe,” Giuliani proclaimed on the stage in Cleveland, where Trump will formally be named the party’s nominee this week. “They fear for our police officers.”

Giuliani blamed President Obama for deepening the nation’s racial divide over policing by suggesting that the president had abandoned his earlier observations that “there is no black America, no white America – where did that go?” Giuliani asked rhetorically, as the crowd roared in affirmation.

In the aftermath of several high-profile cases when unarmed African-Americans were killed by local police officers, Obama has weighed in on the need to address what he said were longstanding concerns over the role of race in policing.

But on Monday night, Giuliani and several other featured speakers cast that call for introspection and soul searching by the president as the actions of “a divider in chief” who was undermining support for the local police.

Earlier this spring, The New York Times reported there had been a statistically significant increase in the number of murders in 20 American cities. But experts also observed that homicide was down in New York City by 25 percent and had declined in several other cities as well.  

Giuliani, along with most of the other speakers on the first night of the RNC, also attacked the president for not being tough enough on terrorism, chiding him for not using the term "radical Islam” to describe the source of the threat.

Before Giuliani took the stage, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, an African-American, heralded the recent acquittal of Lt. Brian Rice, one of the Baltimore police officers charged in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. The convention crowd gave its loud affirmation.

Gray’s death set off civil unrest and rioting last year, resulting in the injury of dozens of police officers, the arrest of hundreds of people, over 150 car fires and widespread damage to local businesses. The Maryland National Guard was called and the city was put under a state of emergency.

Clarke told the convention delegates that he considered the protests by groups like “Black Lives Matter” as nothing more than “anarchy.” Clarke cited a recent Gallup poll showing that a majority of Americans, including African-Americans, were increasingly worried about their personal safety noting this growing anxiety “transcended” race.

As part of the convention’s overarching theme of “Making America Safe Again” on Monday, the issue of illegal immigration and past failures of the federal government to deport undocumented violent felons were highlighted as well.

Before Clarke and Giuliani took the stage, a series of personal testimonials from family members whose children had been killed by “illegal immigrants” were delivered to a hushed audience, clearly caught up in the tragic narratives. 

The surviving family members recounted that they had individually been raising the issue of illegal immigration for years, but that it wasn’t until Donald Trump championed their cause that the issue got any traction.

“I had been talking about illegal immigration” since 2012, said Sabine Durden, another speaker, whose son was killed by a serial drunk driver who was undocumented served only 35 days in jail. “Donald Trump is not just my hero, he is my life saver.” 

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Bob Hennelly
is a reporter for The Chief Leader.