John Oliver shines a light on Rudy Giuliani’s past


Rudy Giuliani made headlines for comments on the latest White House scandal. These brash comments aren’t new, however, said John Oliver on Last Week Tonight.

How has Rudy Giuliani made his way back to national prominence? Until very recently, it seemed as if he had completely squandered all of his post-9/11 goodwill with acidic appearances on cable news and a humiliating 2007-2008 campaign for president.

Yet, here he is again, popping up not merely as a talking head on Fox News, but as a dogged defender of and adviser to the President. Perhaps most unbelievably, he is now a White House cybersecurity advisor. Though Giuliani did establish a security consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, and has had piecemeal work in cybersecurity, reports indicate that he’s far from the best of the best in the field.

How has Giuliani clawed his way back to quasi-prominence in American politics? That’s what John Oliver attempted to answer on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight. However, learning more about Rudy Giuliani involves delving deep into a complicated network of public images and political relationships.

Giuliani’s statement

Most recently, Giuliani has made headlines for his unexpected admission that President Trump paid attorney Michael Cohen $130,000. Cohen himself had paid pornographic actress and director Stormy Daniels that amount in an effort to buy her silence regarding an alleged affair between herself and Trump. Earlier, Cohen had implied that no reimbursement took place. Trump himself denied any knowledge of the exchange.

Giuliani apparently made this statement in an attempt to clear Trump of charges that the president violated campaign finance law. Was it? And even if there is some legal loophole, could this payment break other rules? Furthermore, what does this all mean for Giuliani, his career, and his public image?

While he’s defended the Trump administration at nearly every turn, he has also undermined it. These include various statements about former FBI Director James Comey, the United States’ delicate relationship with North Korea, and creepy statements about Ivanka Trump. He’s been recorded practically leering at the presidential daughter and advisor.

And what about Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, and presidential advisor? “Jared is a fine man, you know that. But men are disposable,” Giuliani has said.

“Weirdness factor”

Giuliani gained much acclaim for his actions as mayor of New York City in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Still, Oliver argued, even being named Time’s “Person of the Year” isn’t quite enough to cover up someone’s fundamental flaws. Even his own staff members have referred to Giuliani’s “weirdness factor” for instance.

Giuliani himself hardly gained many points for his blunt, often abrasive attitudes during his tenure as mayor. Those attitudes could range from odd to potentially devastating. Oliver included a clip where Giuliani insulted a ferret fan. Giuliani ultimately concluded that “this excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness”.

He also cracked down on “quality-of-life crimes” in NYC, which included vagrancy and panhandling. These regulations, intentionally or not, unfairly targeted people of color.

Then, 9/11 happened, and he was suddenly presented with goodwill and a practically clean slate. Even the revelation that he had unwittingly married his own second cousin, then cheated on his next wife (and announced their separation before telling her personally) couldn’t really touch him. After 9/11 and leaving the mayorship, he started a business, wrote a book, and became a partner in a law firm that represented companies like Perdue Farms and Bank of America.

In 2007, he campaigned for president. It was “catastrophically bad,” said Oliver. The problem? Giuliani just would not shut up about September 11th. According to Oliver, “Giuliani could not stop leveraging 9/11 for his own ends.” Giuliani did not win a single state.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 22: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporters as he leaves Trump Tower, November 22, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Giuliani’s return

He proceeded to fade from public view to the point where he was hosting “Mob Week” on cable network AMC. He also appeared regularly on cable news, becoming well known as a conservative Republican apologist.

Why was Giuliani then brought into Trump’s orbit? It likely has something to do with all of those appearances on Fox News, especially when Giuliani brought out the vitriol against Hillary Clinton. He was exceedingly happy to comment on Clinton’s ability to lead, to her appearance, to her supposed health problems.

“Everything in his life has led to this point,” said Oliver. In fact, it’s almost as if he were tailor-made to reflect the current president. “They’re basically two versions of the same person.”

Right now, what is important is not necessarily Giuliani’s past: it’s his future. Will he join the growing ranks of former White House staffers? Will he slink back to second-rate cable network obscurity? Or, will his strong defenses of the Trump administration – matters like “truth” or “morality” be damned – be enough to save his current position?

It’s hard to tell, for now, so you might as well distract yourself with some generally NSFW websites obtained by Last Week Tonight. The site takes you to a video of ferret lovemaking, while shows two ferrets (who just happen to be cousins) decidedly avoiding the act. Finally, redirects to the third video of a dancing ferret making vulgar gestures.

News from Alaska and Australia

Stick around for a definite pick-me-up, however. Oliver delivered an update regarding the last Blockbuster video store in Anchorage and Russell Crowe’s divorce auction donation. As you may recall, Last Week Tonight purchased several items from the auction, including Crowe’s leather jockstrap from 2005’s Cinderella Man. Oliver offered the items to the manager of the Anchorage store in an attempt to bring much-needed traffic to the business.

Thankfully (probably), the Anchorage Blockbuster manager called and the jockstrap has been safely delivered to the store. “We didn’t wash it at all,” he said. “They probably should, however, because it’s not clear how Alaskan bears will react to the scent of early-2000’s Russell Crowe.”

“Amazingly,” said Oliver, “This story actually gets better.”

Crowe’s donation

Russell Crowe tweeted that he wanted to do “something special” because Oliver has somehow, sometime shown genuine love for Australians. “At most, I’ve shown morbid curiosity for it,” Oliver demurred.

Anyway, Crowe tweeted a “surprisingly well-produced video” that showed he had donated in Oliver’s honor to the Australia Zoo. This included a thank you from Terri Irwin, wife of the deceased “Crocodile Hunter” and naturalist Steve Irwin, along with their children Bindi and Robert Irwin.

The donation specifically went to protect Australia’s koala population against — hold on — chlamydia. It’s a disease that has devastated the animals but, thankfully, has a promising vaccine in development. “How did all those koalas get chlamydia?” Oliver wondered.

At any rate, the Irwins proudly debuted the “John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward,” now live at the Australia Zoo. Welp, according to Oliver, it’s now time to shut down the show. He has finally, circuitously, achieved his goal of establishing a koala chlamydia ward. “Goodbye forever, everyone. I regret nothing… My work here is done.”

Next: Did Giuliani just make things worse for the White House?

Don’t worry, though, as Last Week Tonight has already been renewed through 2020. Oliver and his associates will still be around to make silly purchases and somehow do good for at least a couple more years.