Tags: Religion | | Rudy Giuliani | Pamela Geller | Boston | Islam | terrorism

Giuliani: I Don't Agree With Geller, But I Defend Her Rights

Giuliani: I Don't Agree With Geller, But I Defend Her Rights
(Mike Stone/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 04 June 2015 11:58 AM

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he doesn't support anti-jihadist Pamela Geller's "deliberate attempts to mock religion," but he'd defend her right to do it with his life.

"I consider the level of wrongdoing in her case much greater on the side of the people who did what they did," Giuliani told CNN's "New Day" program, while discussing reports that an terrorism plot in Boston this week centered around decapitating the outspoken Geller.

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The former mayor called Geller's words against jihadists, as well as her organizing of anti-Islamist events, including a cartoon drawing event in Garland, Texas, that drew gun-wielding attackers, as "a simple exercise of free speech that will incite emotions and anger."

At the same time, though, Giuliani said that doesn't mean Geller should "have to expect that somebody is going to start shooting at you."

But Geller's rights are "being chilled" by "people who are shooting at her," said Giuliani, who said she's still planning events because "she has a lot of courage."

He disagreed, though, that people who oppose such events have the right to react violently.

"It's like saying a group of people are going to protest the police, but you're going to have to take a risk even if you do it peacefully, because they [can] shoot you," Giuliani told host Chris Cuomo, who went on later in the show to hold a highly charged interview with Geller.

Giuliani further said that, "as a matter of taste," he doesn't agree with Geller's tactics, but he does think her right of free speech "has been abridged."

He told Cuomo he has questions about the Muslim religion, but he knows a lot about it.

"I read a lot about it," he said. "I once was going to be a priest and I studied comparative religion a lot. I know the questions she's raising. I know the questions that should be raised. She's not doing it the right way. I would advise her to do it in a different way."

The former mayor, himself a one-time presidential candidate, also weighed in on the chances of the widening slate of Republicans joining the race for the GOP nomination, saying that he'd be "comfortable" with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as president.

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"I think he's just very, very well-qualified on every front," Giuliani said. "I think the question for me and all Republicans is who has the best chance of winning. So then you also consider [Florida Sen.] Marco Rubio, you have to consider [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie. You got to look at a couple of the long-shot candidates like [South Carolina Sen.] Lindsey Graham, [former New York Gov.] George Pataki with the experience he had."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has not yet announced his candidacy, is also a candidate Giuliani said will need to be considered, but overall, he'd put Bush "near the top."

"If you said to me he's going to be president of the United States, I would tell you the man is extraordinarily intelligent and very, very well qualified for the job, both by background and by temperament," said Giuliani.

However, Giuliani does not know quite yet if Bush is the person he'll pick, as he wants to "pick the one who has the best chance of winning."

"The way I look at politics, it's important that we have a Republican president to correct a lot of the things that I believe President [Barack] Obama is doing wrong," Giuliani said. "And I don't think Hillary Clinton will make those corrections. I believe that had Hillary been elected in '08 she would have been a better president than Obama. But now we need someone to correct what Obama has done and she won't do that."

In addition, he has serious concerns about questions that have emerged about Clinton, and Giuliani, looking at the matter as a former federal prosecutor, said "there's no way she wouldn't be in front of a federal grand jury if I was U.S. Attorney" over conflicts of interest over money that was donated to the Clinton Foundation.

"If there was a quid pro quo we would be talking bribery," he said of the donations. "If she had knowledge, she has a conflict of interest which bars you from federal office for the rest of your life."

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Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that he doesn't support anti-jihadist Pamela Geller's "deliberate attempts to mock religion," but he'd defend her right to do it with his life.
Rudy Giuliani, Pamela Geller, Boston, Islam, terrorism, Jeb Bush, 2016
Thursday, 04 June 2015 11:58 AM
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