Saturday, November 30, 2019

Funny Man

When Vice evaluated whether Donald J. Trump really acts like a mob boss

"I see many more differences than similarities," Diego Gambetta, a professor of social theory and an expert on mafias at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, told me of the Trump–mob boss comparison. "[Mob bosses] do not talk much at all. They measure their words with great care. They do not gesticulate or pull faces. They do not boast. They do not, except in the most exceptional circumstances, display their visceral feelings. The little information they pass to one another tends to be accurate, and they certainly do not cheaply resort to insulting and offending people, or issuing crass threats. They are professional in intimidation. They are not cardboard gangsters."

That's one man's opinion. And while the President's antics may not mimic those of an organized crime capo, an associate of his knows even better than Trump how it's done. In 2000, before New York mayor Rudy Giuliani would acquire his completely undeserved reputation for the (inept) handling of the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the Los Angeles Times observed

Before he was elected mayor in 1993, Giuliani earned a reputation as a no-nonsense federal prosecutor bent on breaking the mob.

As U.S. attorney in 1986, he successfully prosecuted the heads of three organized crime groups--Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, Colombo boss Carmine “Junior” Persico and Lucchese boss Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo. Each received sentences of 100 years in prison.

Then as mayor, Giuliani spearheaded the effort to free the Fulton Fish Market of mob influence.

As head of the office which prosecuted several mobsters, Guiliani learned a thing or two, including how to threaten subtly.  He also worked and played in New York City, as Trump famously and corruptly did.  And so on November 23 the President's personal attorney commented

that he has “insurance” if the president tries to turn on him while defending their relationship amid the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.

Giuliani in a wide-ranging interview on Fox News declined to say if he has spoken with Trump in recent days, saying, "You can assume that I talk to him early and often."

He then touted what he called a "very, very good relationship" with Trump before knocking unspecified comments about him in the press, calling them "totally insulting."

I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance," Giuliani told Fox News's Ed Henry.

"This is ridiculous," Giuliani continued. "We are very good friends. He knows what I did was in order to defend him, not to dig up dirt on [former Vice President Joe] Biden."

Giuliani has made similar comments in the past, including during an interview with The Guardian earlier this month. Asked in that interview if he was nervous Trump might try to throw him under the bus, he reportedly laughed and said he was not concerned.

"I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid," Giuliani said in the phone interview, according to The Guardian. Giuliani's lawyer, who was also on the call, reportedly interjected to say that he was "joking."

Funny as a crutch, Rudy.  The former prosecutor and mayor may be ready for a career in stand-up with that kind of humor. Were he actually joking, there would be no need to point it out. Therefore, Giuliani's attorney, being the legitimate lawyer his client once was, could not allow himself to be associated with a threat and had to pretend it was a joke.

Later that day, Giuliani claimed that he had been "sarcastic"and that his remark "relates to the files in my safe" on Joe Biden. There has been no word whether anyone believed him.

It's the most effective way of sending a message. Announce that you have a shield ("insurance") against retaliation by Trump, but if the latter goes with the program, Rudy can make it worthwhile for him because he has the goods against the President's enemy. It's an easy call for Donald Trump. Play ball, and kill two birds with one stone.

Squeal and I'll break your legs. Just joking.

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