Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani dismissed the thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets in opposition to Donald Trump as “goons and thugs” during a Monday appearance at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO council in Washington, DC.
Giuliani, who is reportedly the favored pick to serve as Trump’s secretary of state, was asked by an audience member when the President-elect would speak out against the dozens of incidents of racist attacks and violence that have broken out nationwide since Election Day.
Giuliani replied by defending Trump’s own views on race, saying he “doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body” and claiming that all American cities with the exception of New York “have completely deteriorated under Democrats.”
The questioner interjected to say that Giuliani was not addressing what she asked.
“When is he going to denounce what has already happened?” she said. “When?”
Both the moderator and Giuliani replied that Trump told those carrying out racist attacks in his name to “stop it” in a “60 Minutes” interview.
“He told people to stop doing what they’re doing,” Giuliani went on. “He has no more control over them than President Obama or Hillary Clinton have over the goons and thugs that are in my city, that are destroying property, that are taking over streets, and that are yelling and screaming at Donald Trump.”
Despite Giuliani’s comments, the protests that have broken out in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago for the past five days have been largely peaceful. Coverage of the marches show residents of all range of ages and backgrounds who say they are speaking out against Trump’s policies on health care, the environment, immigration, LGBT rights, abortion and other issues. High school students in cities like Los Angeles have walked out of classrooms. Though there have been no reports of property destruction in New York City, as Giuliani said, Portland, Oregon has witnessed some violent anti-Trump demonstrations, with 71 people arrested on Saturday including protesters who threw bottles and projectiles at police officers.
Giuliani, like many in the President-elect’s circle, have dismissed demonstrators as “professional protesters.” The former New York City mayor also claimed that those protesting are “exaggerating the fears of a Donald Trump presidency.”
For his part, Trump told “60 Minutes” that Americans are demonstrating against him “only because they don’t know me” and that he was “surprised” to hear about the dramatic uptick in racist and violent incidents in the past week.
Trump said that those carrying out bigoted attacks should “stop.”
“If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
Watch a clip of Giuliani’s interview below:
Rudy Giuliani calls anti-Trump demonstrators “goons and thugs” https://t.co/Xtrhu21ig8 #WSJCEOCouncil pic.twitter.com/kMv86U4Jbv
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 15, 2016