Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, on Friday appeared in a bizarre internet video in which he pounded a desk with ink-stained hands and falsely claimed the presidential election was being stolen. Then, he paused to pitch cigars at a discount.
“This election has been won by Donald Trump,” the former New York City mayor declared, reading from pieces of paper with scribbled-down vote counts that he insisted proved his point.
The numbers he cited are common knowledge to anyone who has been following the election: Trump held leads in some key states on the night of Tuesday’s election, but in the ensuing days challenger Joe Biden reversed those leads and is now on the verge of clinching the presidency.
“It is totally impossible!” Giuliani bellowed in the video. “Illogical! Irrational! That the same thing would happen in all five or six places where there were close votes.”
In fact, the reversal in votes is the very logical result of officials counting mail-in votes, which are largely cast by Democrats, later than in-person votes.
President Trump has increasingly sought to discredit the election and has filed, or threatened to file, court challenges in multiple states. If Giuliani’s video was meant to be a preview of Trump’s claim that the election had been riddled with fraud, it’s hard to envision a judge giving the fact-free presentation much credence. The New York Times has reported that the White House has sought the help of a figure like former Secretary of State James Baker, who successfully fought a Florida recount on behalf of George W. Bush in 2000.
Giuliani did not immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment for this story. A White House spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment on whether Giuliani’s video was a sanctioned part of their legal strategy.
The video Giuliani posted Friday, part of a YouTube series entitled “Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense,” has the feel of a manic fireside chat. The attorney mostly spoke directly into the camera, with occasional shots suddenly cutting to film from his right. On his left hand, Giuliani wore what appeared to be a New York Yankees championship ring.
Among the many curious elements of the video was that Giuliani seemed unaware that his palms were smeared with black ink.
At one point, Giuliani sharply criticized Fox News, the network closely allied with Trump throughout his presidency, for what he insisted were premature calls of the races in Virginia and Arizona. He surmised, without offering evidence, that the early calls led other networks to try to push Biden over the 270 Electoral College vote threshold needed to capture the presidency, and that it had interfered with voters around the country.
“How many votes did they suppress in Virginia?” he demanded of Fox News.
He said that the cable networks had cheated Trump by not calling other states, including Pennsylvania and Georgia, in which the president took early leads on Election Day.
“Pennsylvania is Trump’s,” Giuliani said. “If for any reason that vote total changes it has to be a fraud.”
By the time Giuliani’s video was posted, Biden had taken the lead in both Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Giuliani also pointed out that Wisconsin “looked like it was going to go” to Trump, but allowed that “you might not want to call that unless you’re very, very pro-Trump.”
The fact that the cable networks had not called each of these states in ways that would benefit Trump tipped off Giuliani, he said, that Democrats were in “Phase 3 or 4” of a conspiracy.
In attempting to explain the plot, Giuliani blamed mail-in ballots, which he said were “entirely unconstitutional” (they are not); the Robert Mueller investigation; Trump’s Ukraine-related impeachment; Hunter Biden’s laptop; and Hillary Clinton’s computer. He also said, without evidence, that ballots weren’t cast by voters but by “some Democrat sitting in a back room.”
When describing Trump’s lead in North Carolina as insurmountable, Giuliani suddenly yelled and slammed a paper down on his desk.
“And they’re not calling it! Tell me they’re not corrupt,” he said. Then he calmly stated to the camera: “Good time to take a break.”
Giuliani was then shown enthusiastically puffing a stogie while plugging a cigar website. “And click the activate button to apply the promo code!” he urged, promising a 20-percent discount.
But Giuliani kept returning to his confidence when he went to bed at around 3 or 4 am on Wednesday morning that Trump had won reelection. He said he based this feeling on his experience observing elections dating back to that of John F. Kennedy.
“Before that, as a child, I remember Eisenhower in ‘52,” Giuliani reminisced, adding: “I’m not a baby.”