Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star, is holding to the assertion that he and his client bear no responsibility for the Capitol insurrection last week. Despite months of loud, leaky protestations that the election was stolen through dubious allegations of fraud, leading up to an impassioned speech before the Capitol march, Giuliani is employing an unusual defense for his fighting words.
At last Wednesday’s rally, he called for “trial by combat” to validate his claims of mass voter fraud and tampering. (“If we are wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let's have trial by combat,” he said.) Giuliani tells the Hill’s Brett Samuels that this was intended to be a roundabout reference to Game of Thrones and not fighting words:
“I was referencing the kind of trial that took place for Tyrion in that very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England. When Tyrion, who is a very small man, is accused of murder. He didn't commit murder, he can't defend himself, and he hires a champion to defend him... And I’m talking about trial by machines. In fact, you’ll see it comes up exactly in the context of I challenge them to allow us to examine their [voting] machines.”
He goes onto compare this to other rallies he’s spoken at that led to an immediately charged-up response from the crowd, “where people jump up and say, ‘lock him up,’” so this was different. It’s consistent with Trump’s defense, suggesting that his directives to march down to the Capitol bear no causation to the ensuing violence.
Despite their entangled fates, Giuliani has apparently fallen out of favor with Trump after his second impeachment on Wednesday. According to the Washington Post, President Trump is reportedly blaming Giuliani’s slapdash, geriatric legal strategy for the latest impeachment vote, and has told staffers to stop paying Giuliani’s legal fees. In recent days, the pair have rushed to roll back the inflamed rhetoric to their legal benefit, with Trump employing his somber dulcet tones in a Wednesday evening video to claim that “no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence.”
Although he’s been racewalking to the bottom for much of the past decade, Giuliani kicked things into another gear in the past six months. His infamous appearance in the Borat sequel, featuring the longest shirt-tuck of all time, was telegraphed by that amazing Page Six interview over the summer, when he employed Borat voice as evidence that he wasn’t duped by Sacha Baron Cohen. Giuliani’s election defense efforts will be remembered for their consistent failure, first and foremost, but also for the possible farts, dripping hair makeup, and humiliating forays into landscaping. Like everyone else who’s flown too close to the sun in Trump’s orbit, Giuliani’s torpedoed what’s left of his reputation, along with the sycophantic loyalty points.