Rudy lives in a fantasy world

Oh man. Rudy Giuliani is wearing a wacky filter over his glasses — look at this bizarre comparison he made:

Earlier this month the New York Mayor whipped up a crowd of angry Trump-supporters shortly before they marched the Capitol in Washington DC, telling them ‘let’s have trial by combat!’ Speaking about the comment, which referenced challenging Democratic election officials attempting to count the votes and confirm Joe Biden as president, Giuliani said he was instead referencing the HBO series and its character Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage). He told The Hill’s White House reporter Brett Samuels: ‘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.’

I’m trying to wrap my head around the phrase “documentary about fictitious medieval England”. None of that works. Game of Thrones not a documentary, nor does it claim to be, and while loosely assembled from scattered bits of Western European history, it’s not about England. But what do I know, I’ve only been to that country like 4 times, which is not an adequate sampling. Maybe I just happened to miss the dragons, and I’ve only made a couple of forays north of Hadrian’s wall, are there gangs of wildings and zombies up there?

But that’s not even the most delusional thing he said.

Trying to make his comments seem any better, Giuliani – who went on to claim that antifa was behind the violence and that Mr Trump bears ‘no responsibility’ for the events – attempted to explain he meant a combat ‘between machines’ and not people. He went on: ‘It incited no violent response from the crowd. None.
‘The crowd didn’t jump up saying, “Lock him up, throw him to jail, go to hell.” I’ve had speeches where people jump up and say, “lock him up.” It was not an emotional — it was not an emotion-inspiring part of the speech.’

There was no violent response from the crowd, except that right after his speech they marched on the capitol, crashed through the fences, smashed windows, dragged policemen into the crowd and beat them, and killed a guy. Yeah. Not violent.

This has been a common assertion by right-wing news liars. Ben Shapiro has claimed it, so has Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones, it’s a common refrain. But we’ve all seen the videos — that was a violent, angry mob, shrieking and wrecking and looking for blood. Read this harrowing account of the insurrection in the New Yorker.

“We have guns, too, motherfuckers!” one man yelled. “With a lot bigger rounds!” Another man, wearing a do-rag that said “fuck your feelings,” told his friend, “If we have to tool up, it’s gonna be over. It’s gonna come to that. Next week, Trump’s gonna say, ‘Come to D.C.’ And we’re coming heavy.”

Later, I listened to a woman talking on her cell phone. “We need to come back with guns,” she said. “One time with guns, and then we’ll never have to do this again.”

Although the only shot fired on January 6th was the one that killed Ashli Babbitt, two suspected explosive devices were found near the Capitol, and a seventy-year-old Alabama man was arrested for possessing multiple loaded weapons, ammunition, and eleven Molotov cocktails. As the sun fell, clashes with law enforcement at times descended into vicious hand-to-hand brawling. During the day, more than fifty officers were injured and fifteen hospitalized. I saw several Trump supporters beat policemen with blunt instruments. Videos show an officer being dragged down stairs by his helmet and clobbered with a pole attached to an American flag. In another, a mob crushes a young policeman in a door as he screams in agony. One officer, Brian Sicknick, a forty-two-year-old, died after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. Several days after the siege, Howard Liebengood, a fifty-one-year-old officer assigned to protect the Senate, committed suicide.

During Trump’s speech on January 6th, he said, “The media is the biggest problem we have.” He went on, “It’s become the enemy of the people. . . . We gotta get them straightened out.” Several journalists were attacked during the siege. Men assaulted a Times photographer inside the Capitol, near the rotunda, as she screamed for help. After National Guard soldiers and federal agents finally arrived and expelled the Trump supporters, some members of the mob shifted their attention to television crews in a park on the east side of the building. Earlier, a man had accosted an Israeli journalist in the middle of a live broadcast, calling him a “lying Israeli” and telling him, “You are cattle today.” Now the Trump supporters surrounded teams from the Associated Press and other outlets, chasing off the reporters and smashing their equipment with bats and sticks.

No violent response from the crowd, my ass.


  1. chrislawson says

    Giuliani is too baked on to jump ship like DeVos and the other rats who, to be fair to Giuliani, have income streams that do not depend completely on Trump’s pleasure. Instead he has embraced what he sees as the only way forward: a complete psychotic break from reality in the hope that it will generate payments for a few more invoices to the Donald. (Narrator: It won’t.)

  2. davidc1 says

    Some of the rioters attacked a policeman ,they were screaming shoot him with his own gun .He shouted i have got kids ,which brought a few of the rioters to their senses ,and they then protected him .

  3. numerobis says

    There’s plenty of bonkers in what Rudy says and does, but “documentary about fictitious medieval England” is not it. It’s quite common to sarcastically refer to films or shows that are very obviously not documentaries, as documentaries — usually without throwing in “fictitious” in there because the sarcasm is supposed to be obvious enough on its own.

  4. anchor says

    @#3: Then why else did he use such incongruity as support for his contention that he didn’t literally mean ‘trial by combat’ – that is, as a call for physical violence or battle? For the laughs?

  5. stroppy says

    Well, “Game of Thrones” was inspired by the wars of the roses, not that it matters much. It’s fantasy fiction, and not the best I’m guessing, I don’t really follow the genre. But hey it’s popular and that’s what it’s all about. Popularity not policy.

    Words fail. The whole Trump narrative would be Loony Tunes if the shredding of society and lives weren’t so real.

  6. says

    …he meant a combat ‘between machines’ and not people.

    So, Robot Wars? I admit, that’d be a pretty cool way of settling election disputes. Completely nuts, but cool.

  7. cartomancer says

    Okay, let’s assume for the sake of sheer devilment that Mr. Giuliani was being entirely honest in his statement. He really was trying to invoke early medieval notions of Trial by Battle in this context. Or, at least, whatever bastardised versions of them he found in a third-rate TV adaptation of a fifth-rate fantasy author’s books?

    Why does that make things any better?

    What is it about Trial by Battle that Mr. Giuliani sees as valid or relevant here? Because it was considered archaic and unjust even in the Middle Ages. The legal revolutions of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries saw such notions of folk justice swept away by formal legal structures of the sort we recognise today – codified Roman Law, British Common Law, the principles of Equity and so on. Surely as an actual lawyer in the Common Law tradition he must know this?

    What did he expect his audience to take from his speech? That their side would put forward a judicial champion to fight against Joe Biden’s champion in an arena with swords? What else could he have meant (apart from “off you go, do a sedition and murder some people”, which is the message they actually took)? If he was trying to conjure images of judicial redress in the most abstract of senses, why go for Trial by Battle? Surely lawyers representing their clients is just as much an encapsulation of the sentiment “we’ll have somebody standing up for our side in this argument”?

    But even if he was entirely naieve in his rhetoric (I don’t believe that for a second, but even if), then he was still being criminally reckless in using such inflammatory language when he knew full well that it could be taken as an exhortation to mob violence.

  8. cartomancer says

    And as for “combat between machines”… I have no idea what he meant there. But if that’s what he really meant then that’s what he should have said. It was easy enough for him to say it after the fact, after all.

    If he’s that bad at oratory then he shouldn’t be allowed to do it without consequences. If your speeches might accidentally incite mob violence because you’re so crap at getting your meaning across, you shouldn’t be allowed within ten metres of a microphone or a crowd.

  9. raven says

    Isn’t a Trial by Combat just another phrase for dueling?
    IIRC, dueling was outlawed in the USA a few centuries ago.
    The most notable US duel was between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. While Aaron Burr won by killing Hamilton, it didn’t do his political career any good.

    I don’t know, a duel between 72 year old Trump and 78 year old Biden on 5th Avenue in NYC just doesn’t work for me. I’m sure the TV ratings would be huge though.
    Melania versus Kamala Harris in Mixed Martial Arts UFC might have possibilities though.

    PS: And, isn’t Trial by Combat just another phrase for Civil War? We just had one of those not so long ago considering. The current GOP/Trump side lost.
    They are losing again right now as the FBI arrests the US Capitol attackers.

  10. brucegee1962 says

    Maybe he meant “Since I, personally, have been laughed out of every courtroom I have set foot in over the last few months over this issue, trial by combat is all we’ve got left to fall back upon”?

    I don’t know. Maybe just a joke by a man who completely misunderstands the crowd he is addressing. Maybe Trump’s dementia is contagious. It’s sad.

  11. raven says

    And as for “combat between machines”… I have no idea what he meant there.

    You are trying to translate from Giulianiese to English and even Google translate fails at that.

    Demolition derby – › wiki › Demolition_derby

    Demolition derby is a motorevent usually presented at county fairs and festivals. While rules vary from event to event, the typical demolition derby event consists of five or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another.

    The only Trial by Machines I could come up with is an ancient US art form known as the Demolition Derby. This is where old reinforced wrecked cars in an arena smash each other up until only one is left running.
    It’s high culture in rural Trump country.

    Most modern warfare is Trial by Machines.
    Fighter jets, attack helicopters, stealth bombers, B52’s , anti-aircraft systems, various missiles for the air war.
    Tanks and other armored vehicles for the ground war. Mines. Artillery.
    Who knows, maybe Giuliani wants to make the USA look like Iraq after we were finished with it.

  12. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Hey, if Rudy wants “trial by combat” for his failed lawsuits tossing PA ballots, it’s ON:

    Rudy vs. PA Lt. Gov. Fetterman.

    Beatdown livestreamed. I’d watch the shit out of that.

  13. PaulBC says

    Giuliani has been deep into conspiracy theories for years, so that part is not new. I would like to hear more about “election by battle bots”. It doesn’t sound like a good idea, but it would be more fun to watch than the rest of this.

  14. says

    I don’t know what Giuliani believes, but I might have found a useful way to flip the frame.

    No matter what my political orientation is I have a right to the process outlined in the constitution and it is a process for precisely that reason. I have a right to that process and just trying to stop it takes from my rights. That is a broken social contract.

    No responses yet from people on the right for what that is worth but it was liked a lot.

  15. PaulBC says

    @15 People on the right don’t care about the constitution, at least not the ones who are advocating armed insurrection. You can have constitutional protection or you can attempt to overthrow the government. You don’t get to have both, and that’s something a lot of these assholes need to learn.

  16. says

    Republicans were enjoying every minute of it until it didn’t work and it didn’t go over well with independents and enough of a percentage (though still very much a minority) of the base.

  17. fossboxer says

    @16 I keep a tenuous grip on my sanity when I hear the Joint Chiefs remind us over and over that the military MO is defense of the constitution, not dictators nor any other person or persons. Which puts the insurrectionists and their fascist fantasies at odds with the US Army. Good luck with that.

  18. Howard Brazee says

    I see Giuliani as one of those kids who just has to be noticed. He’s willing to be the clown, as long as he’s noticed.

  19. davidc1 says

    If i had my way British history would be crown copyright ,and Hollywood would not be allowed to make films about it .
    @16 It would be fun to watch though .

  20. woozy says

    It’s quite common to sarcastically refer to films or shows that are very obviously not documentaries, as documentaries

    Emphasis mine. We can’t use a sarcastic comment to backup a sincere viewpoint.

    And, in case he didn’t notice, we don’t live in medieval ages anymore and the depiction of life in such in that series was not presented as a just, desirable, or tenable society.

  21. stroppy says

    Nice to know that the word games conservative judges like play with the constitution hasn’t destroyed it. That despite The Federalist Society working hard for decades (successfully) to provide judges for court packing.

    The Federalist Society Just Proved It’s All In for Trump

    Here is John Eastman, chairman of a Federalist Society practice group, at the pre-insurrection rally spouting conspiracy theories about voter fraud. He concludes: “Anybody that is not willing to stand up and [vote to overturn the election] does not deserve to be in the office!”

  22. PaulBC says

    numerobis@3 I agree that he was probably trying to make a joke, but when someone is so misinformed and entirely bonkers, it is hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Possibly, referring to Game of Thrones and “very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England” could be a little bit funny coming from someone you’re certain knows better. But not very funny. And in bat-shit Rudy’s case it just sounds like more bat-shit Rudy.

  23. PaulBC says

    My impression of Giuliani is the he honestly thinks he’s a big celebrity with a following of people who hang on his every word. In fact, he was popular for prosecuting the mafia back in the 80s, was later a very well-known mayor of New York, and managed to leverage 9/11 into even greater celebrity.

    But today he doesn’t think very well, doesn’t stay informed on real news, and credulously accepts loony rightwing conspiracy theories. He’s a laughing stock except (maybe) among some Trump supporters, but I’m not sure about that. He doesn’t realize he’s a laughing stock and thinks he’s a superstar attorney, not an old man with dye or something dripping down his face who looks like he inspired Munch’s The Scream.

    He doesn’t know it, and a sign of this is that he’ll try to make “jokes”, but he’s bat-shit Rudy and everyone is laughing at him, not his attempts at humor. Trump is the one getting the last laugh. It is highly unlikely he’s compensate Giuliani at all, let alone at $20,000 a day.

  24. says

    @PaulBC 16
    It’s a useful 1 on 1 confrontation in a public space that redirects where the force is coming from. I know it might not convince them but that is only part of the point. Let me think a bit. There may be more reasons why I find it useful that arr not imeadiately coming to mind.

  25. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@27 I agree that it’s useful. There’s even a little bit of a shame factor that could potentially work if you can get it through their thick skulls that they’re the ones who have left the Constitution in the dust, and if they want it that way, they shouldn’t pretend to be “patriots.” Of course, they are (a) shameless and (b) heavily compartmentalized, so the effect is limited. As always, you can do it for persuadable bystanders or just because it’s right.

  26. says

    @PaulBC 28
    That’s why going forward I do it over and over and over. Like deflating that “75 million americans!” (or more) with the reality that they are a less impressive sounding fraction. I do it every time I see it in an individual social space where applicable, and I’m genuinely interested in how they respond so I can understand the next rationalization. It’s a process.

  27. PaulBC says

    @30 Sure, and maybe that’s what bat-shit Rudy actually meant, though machine politics usually has bad connotations, and I still don’t understand what he’s saying.

    Anyway, we have elections already. We don’t have to come up with wacky new ways to pick a president every four years.

  28. raven says

    I still don’t understand what he’s saying.

    You’ve never been to a county fair.

    Truck & Tractor Pulls: A Family Fun Event. … A tractor/truck pull is when a whole load of engine-modified farm tractors and trucks pull a heavy metal sled a measured distance. They break it down into different classes and the one who pulls the sled the farthest (in their class) wins.Feb 6, 2017

    Taking the Kids to a Truck & Tractor Pull?

    Liberal elites have such deprived and empty lives.

  29. raven says

    At Monster Jam events, monster trucks face off in three forms of competition: racing, two-wheel skills, and freestyle. Racing is traditional heads-up tournament racing, where the first truck to cross the finish line moves onto the next round; the final race of the night is for that particular event’s championship.

    Monster Jam – Wikipedia

    There are a lot of Combat Between Machines events. I can’t really see Trump or Biden actually driving monster trucks though.
    And, it still seems like a silly way to determine who is president.

  30. says

    Wait for Rudy to sign a “tell all” book, now that Trump is trying to stiff him on his lawyering bills. It’d be a surrealist masterpiece and everyone would wonder what’s truth and fiction or just plain random strings of words.

  31. Ridana says

    ‘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.’

    Hold up. So Roodles is saying that in his analogy Dumbo is a very small man who can’t defend himself? So…is the mob the champion he hires to go fight for him (nothing like incriminating your client!), or is Rootytoot suggesting that he himself is the hero?

    “Machine combat” made me think of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots (first made by Marx! – is Roods a secret commie?).

  32. Tethys says

    I’m assuming he is referring to the trial by combat scene between The Mountain and The Viper. If you have not seen it, if only for context, it is on YouTube. It is of course, extremely violent.

    It is not hard to understand why Rudy casts Cheeto as Tyrion. I haven’t seen enough of the show to know why Tyrion was jailed, tried in a crooked court, and eventually demanded trial by combat. He is a very sympathetic character.
    The show was highly popular. It was easy for the skilled snake oil salesmen to tap into a pop culture icon of an aggrieved, wrongly accused nobleman, plus horrific bloody violence to feed their maga monster. It clearly worked a charm to evoke violent outrage and provoke sedition.

    Cheeto is obviously Joffrey in the GOTs world. I don’t know who best represents Rudy. Maybe the scheming eunuch?

  33. PaulBC says

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite@42 I am American from the Philly area but living in the SF Bay Area for a long time, and I can’t say I was ever a big fan. Definitely not of his “Generalissimo” mayorship. I guess he did good work prosecuting the mob in the 80s, though the more he acts like an idiot, the more I’m inclined to wonder about everything he’s ever done.

    It’s kind of like Ben Carson. If he had just stuck with brain surgery, history would have treated him a lot more kindly than it will now. Trump on the other hand was never that great. He was a laughable self-promoter since as long as I can remember. OK, I stopped laughing a while ago.

  34. wzrd1 says

    Actually, duelling hasn’t been made federally illegal, although the judicial duel has rightfully fallen into extreme disuse. Quite a few states did outlaw duelling, but not all. Indeed, no less than Abraham Lincoln was challenged to a duel by James Shields, which Lincoln accepted. As duelling was illegal in Illinois, the duel was to be conducted on Missouri’s Sunflower Island.
    As the challenger, Lincoln knowing Shields was a skilled marksman, Lincoln selected broadswords.
    Upon meeting at the selected place and time, Lincoln proceeded to cleave a stout branch over his opponent’s head, proving his considerable strength and reach.
    Their seconds subsequently resolved the dispute, as Lincoln had not written the offending letters,, Mary Todd had.

    Personally, I’d had opted for bowling balls at ten paces, on sand.

    While technically possible to request a judicial duel, a jurist would far more likely to order the requester head examined, to properly ascertain precisely what kind of sawdust it contains.
    As David Ostrom learned when he requested a judicial duel over child custody in Iowa in 2020.

    Which proves, when history and current events meet, humorous events shall shortly follow.

    As for Rudy’s hair, ahem, coloring, I’d say it was Kiwi brand brown shoe polish, which would explain its scarcity. I had to use cordovan color on my shoes.
    For my bald spot, I use a singularity, as those have no hair, but lenses the remaining hair quite effectively. At doubles in making me quite attractive as well.

  35. zetopan says

    Ghouliani bailed out of reality long ago. He likely imagines that he didn’t lose a single one of the 63 cases that he lost on election fraud that he even said in court were no about election fraud. Remember this is the same bat boy (“Truth isn’t truth”) who has also been defending a narcissistic grifter who claimed “Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening”, something to which all tRump cult members, by necessity, must eagerly subscribe.

  36. PaulBC says

    whheydt@51 Mountain View. I have mentioned Santa Clara County many times in this blog I’m pretty sure.

  37. davidc1 says

    Just read in The Guardian a lot of those wackaloons who attacked the Capitol Building are being are being turned into the FBI by
    members of their own family .
    Also ,a lot of them are asking the snatch snatcher to pardon them ,lol.

  38. blf says

    “…. are there gangs of wildings and zombies up there?…”
    Have you ever been to Glasgow on a Saturday night?

    (giggles) I have, I have !
    Admittedly, cocooned in a safe space with sane albeit franticfanatic people† — assuming people who paid to voluntarily listen to bagpipes are sane — didn’t have any problems at all, other then getting back into the hotel…

      † Several of the very first Celtic Connections festivals…

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    blf @57:

    assuming people who paid to voluntarily listen to bagpipes are sane

    It can take a bit of getting used to, especially piobaireachd. But like single malt whisky, it can be worth the effort. And they have some great titles.

  40. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @59: Possibly Hittite, or Greek, or Roman, or French. Still played in numerous European, Asian and North African countries.

  41. Tethys says

    Addendum: Aułi is the name of the Latvian folk group linked above. It’s an odd mix of traditional world music that works surprisingly well.

  42. Tethys says

    Rob, yes that’s what I shared. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for putting up a non broken link.

  43. blf says

    Or even ancient Egyptian.

    Some of the before-referenced concerts featured, as one additional example, the Irish uilleann pipes (which are not considered “the original” (a clarification for the pedantic trolls))… Other than being in Scotland (for the example given), I have no idea why the automatic assumption of Scottish pipes.

  44. blf says

    @63, et al., Thanks! The throat singer, Batzorig Vaanchig, rings a bell with me, albeit I cannot, at present, without searching, place just why… however, the band, Auļi, is, I think, new to me. Thanks for the tip(s) !

  45. stroppy says

    Thanks to the Internet, I’ve discovered that bagpipes are more versatile and have a greater range of tones than I had previously imagined. I even found a peculiar lady taking an interesting shot at jazz with them, but I don’t think I’ve heard their full potential exploited yet.

    Iridium from The Sidh rocking EDM is a fun one

    A personally I get a kick out of Archie J from India doing a bagpipe instrumental cover of Zombie.

  46. whheydt says

    There was a report on Slate that Carl Rove, in an interview on Fox, asserted that if Guiliani represents Trump at the Senate trial, it will significantly increase the chance that Trump will be convicted. I say to this…Go, Rudy!

  47. birgerjohansson says

    Regarding trial by combat and other retro culture, police in London just broke up a fight of 40 people that were using knives and “at least one sword”.
    I knew Jacob Rees-Mogg was regressive but even I am surprised.

  48. birgerjohansson says

    Of course Lincoln was strong. It was a necessary trait for a vampire hunter.
    One of his prey got away, and much later bit Giuliani. But that is another story.

  49. raven says

    Regarding trial by combat …

    Jacob Chansley, the horned headdress “shaman” who attacked the US Capitol was carrying a spear.
    It wasn’t too retro though, the point was large, sharp, and made out of steel.

    The crowd was well armed, they just didn’t have a lot of guns since those are heavily regulated in Washington DC.

  50. birgerjohansson says

    Rudy is looking more “Nosferatu” every day. Is he turning into Klaus Kinsky? It would explain his conduct during Boratgate.