Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday that he was using “abbreviated language” when he claimed that the U.S. had seen no terror attacks carried out by Islamic extremists before President Barack Obama came into office.
“You speak in somewhat abbreviated language,” he told the New York Daily News by way of explaining his Monday introduction for Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio. “All human beings speak in abbreviated language at times.”
Given Giuliani’s frequent invocations in public appearances of his experience as mayor during 9/11, reporters immediately noticed when he said that the threat from terrorist groups “started” when Obama took office in 2009.
“Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack inside the United States,” he told the crowd in Ohio.
Giuliani told the Daily News that his comment was simply “misinterpreted” because he was trying to keep his remarks brief.
“When you’re giving a speech, you only have five minutes, you can’t give an encyclopedic explanation,” he said, adding that he will “of course” make other comments that “can be taken out of context or misinterpreted” thanks to the limitations of public speaking.
Giuliani assured the newspaper that he would never intentionally omit a reference to the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history, given his personal involvement in handling its aftermath.
“I didn’t forget 9/11. I hardly would. I almost died in it,” he said.