Rudy Giuliani scares the internet with bizarre video using Abraham Lincoln filter

Former Trump lawyer drags Democratic candidate into 1990s scandal debunked by fact-checkers

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 20 October 2021 14:43
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Rudy Giuliani uses Abraham Lincoln filter to urge Virginia voters not to pick Democrat

Former New York Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani posted a video using an Abraham Lincoln filter in support of the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, in his race against DemocratTerry McAuliffe.

“Virginia, vote against the man who dishonoured our past by selling my bedroom hundreds and hundreds of times to scoundrels in a pay-for-play scheme!” Mr Giuliani said.

“In my time, we had a name for men who sold bedrooms for one night. In your time, the name is Terry McAuliffe! End the Clinton sleaze once and for all!”

Mr Giuliani was referring to the 1990s when Mr McAuliffe was accused of being the mastermind behind a scheme to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House to campaign donors during the presidency of Bill Clinton – a claim fact-checkers have rejected.

Mr McAuliffe has a personal relationship with both Bill and Hillary Clinton – he was one of their top fundraisers and served as the co-chairman of Mr Clinton’s 1996 campaign for reelection and as chairman for Ms Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign.

When Mr McAuliffe ran for governor of Virginia in 2013, his opponent, the Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, said that Mr McAuliffe was “the person who invented the scheme to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom” – a claim Politifact categorised as false.

Congress investigated claims in 1997 that Mr McAuliffe and Mr Clinton set the scheme into motion in 1994 during Mr McAuliffe’s time as finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr McAuliffe has breakfast with Mr Clinton at the White House on 27 December 1994 – a month after the midterm elections had taken the Republicans to congressional majorities in the House and the Senate. In the House, it was the first time in 40 years that the Republicans controlled the chamber.

Mr McAuliffe wanted to find a way for disenchanted Democrats to once again feel excited about the Clinton presidency ahead of his reelection campaign in 1996. Mr McAuliffe sent a memo to the then-director of Oval Office operations, Nancy Hernreich, suggesting that Mr Clinton meet up with top party supporters for meals, coffee, games of golf, and morning jogs, according to PolitiFact. Mr McAuliffe listed 10 of the Democrats’ “top supporters”.

In 2009, Mr McAuliffe released the book What a Party, in which he said there was “nothing controversial” about the memo he had written to Ms Hernreich.

“A candidate was going to spend time with his supporters. What a shocker that was,” he wrote. “I was careful how I worded the memo because the Clinton White House leaked like a sieve, and the only question in my mind was how many minutes it would take before a copy of this memo would be hand-delivered to The Washington Post. Little did I know that this would become the infamous Lincoln Bedroom Memo.”

The note became the main focus of a congressional investigation by the Republicans into how fundraising worked in the Clinton White House.

The memo didn’t suggest that sleepovers at the White House be offered, but the idea was mentioned in scrawled notes on the front and back of the memo. On 20 June 1997, Ms Hernreich told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that she had written “overnights” on the front of the memo.

“I don’t honestly know if that was my idea or if it was the president’s idea and under what circumstances I wrote that,” she said. Committee lawyer Donald Bucklin asked her if the idea could have stemmed from a conversation with Mr McAuliffe.

“If I indeed had that conversation with Terry, I’m not certain I did, but if I indeed had it, then it could have, although it just as well could not have come from him,” Ms Hernreich said. “Honestly, I just don’t know, really.”

Mr Clinton wrote on the back of a memo in a note to Ms Hernreich: “Ready to start overnights right away.”

Actress Patricia Arquette responded to Mr Giuliani’s video on Twitter, writing: “You couldn’t help but go Adolph at the end right?”

Opinion columnist and former federal prosecutor Michael Stern added: “You are a former US Attorney. You are a former Mayor of New York City. What in the hell happened to you ... and when does it end?”

TV writer Frank Lesser wrote: “Congrats, Rudy. This is the second-worst thing a bad actor did to Lincoln.”

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