If there’s one person whose lead you probably don’t want to follow, it’s Rudy Giuliani. And if there’s one person whose lead you most definitely do not—never, ever, under any circumstances—want to follow, it’s Drunk Rudy Giuliani. Yet according to Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, the newest book by Michael Wolff, premier chronicler of the stupidity of the Trump administration, it was a perpetually hammered Giuliani who convinced Donald Trump that Mike Pence had the power to ignore the votes of more than 81 million Americans and overturn the presidential election and declare Trump the winner.
New York Magazine published an excerpt from Wolff’s upcoming book, which seems to confirm that the final months of Trump’s presidency were a Groundhog Day of unhinged political strategies and a complete lack of understanding of American democracy. Making matters worse, according to Wolff, was that the then-president had been all but abandoned by his closest advisers in his final days—with the exception of Rudy, who was apparently “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania.” You don’t say?
Almost everyone who remained around the president understood that he, along with Giuliani, did in fact actually believe that there was yet a decent chance of upsetting the electoral count and having Trump declared the Electoral College winner or, failing that, prolonging the election and returning the fight to the disputed states. The president’s aides (and family) understood, too, that he was the only one (along with Giuliani, which only made the situation more alarming) in any professional political sphere to believe this. Hence—although they did not call it such and tried to see it as more nuanced—derangement.
There had been hardly a waking hour in the past 48 during which he and Giuliani had not been on the phone in pent-up nervousness and excitement over the coming battle in Congress on January 6. They were two generals poring over a map of the battlefield. Both men, egged on by hypotheticals ever nearer to fantasy and after exhausting all other options, had come to take it as an article of faith that the vice-president could simply reject Biden electors in favor of Trump ones and thereby hand the election to Trump; or, falling short of that, that the vice-president could determine that a state legislature ought to give further consideration to possible discrepancies in the state’s vote and send back the questioned electors for a reconsideration of their certification.
“There is no question, none at all, that the VP can do this. That’s a fact. The Constitution gives him the authority not to certify. It goes back to the state legislatures,” said Giuliani, as though on a loop. He kept repeating this to the president and to the others who were part of the continual conversation on his cell phone.
Had the described scenario been set to the Benny Hill theme song, it would have been funny. Unfortunately, it was all too real, and is what led to the Capitol riots on January 6th. And it’s Giuliani’s actions in those days that have caused him to be stripped of his license to practice law in the state of New York. While we sit and anxiously await seeing how this embarrassing chapter in American history will ultimately end, Wolff can fill in some of the horrifying details.
Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency will be published on July 27, 2021.
(Via New York Magazine)