Rudy Giuliani, former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York City, fell for the oldest trick in the book. No, not the one where he was lured to a hotel room by Sacha Baron Cohen to do a fake interview for his latest movie, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” This one occurred last September, as then-President Donald Trump was preparing for his first debate with then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
At the prep session, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie played Biden. Kellyanne Conway was the stand-in for Fox anchor Chris Wallace as moderator. Giuliani, who at the time was thought to be one of Trump’s closest advisors, wanted to participate in the rehearsal but his advice often clashed with that of Christie, Conway and others in Trump’s orbit.
According to the book I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, which will be released on Wednesday, Christie felt that the best approach was for Trump to merely bring up Hunter Biden as a tactic to throw Biden off course. Giuliani, who had invested considerable time and energy trying to dig up political dirt about Hunter and Ukraine to throw at the Democratic nominee, favored a much more aggressive approach.
The disagreement was so intense that Christie and Conway deliberately gave Giuliani an incorrect starting time for the next debate prep session. “Aides told Giuliani they would be gathering at 2:00 p.m., though they were scheduled to start at noon. They had tricked Giuliani by giving him the wrong time,” the book says. When Trump’s former personal lawyer finally did arrive for the prep session the day before the Sept. 28 debate in Cleveland he was able to participate for only the last 30 minutes, according to the book.
At the debate Biden smoothly brushed aside Trump’s Giuliani-suggested attack on his son. “My son, like a lot of people at home, had a drug problem,” he said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”