It might not seem like it now, but once upon a time Rudy Giuliani actually appeared to respect the democratic process.
In fact, in direct contrast to the insane conspiracy theories, lie-filled press debacles or press events where he flop-sweats his hair dye out we’ve seen from him in modern times, he once made a big show of accepting the results of an election he lost. In fact, he conceded immediately, and then did everything he could to promote unity with the candidate who won. While, we should add, also shutting down his angry supporters who booed the winner and demanded a recount.
It happened in 1989, when Giuliani ran his first campaign to become the mayor of New York. His opponent was Democrat David Dinkins, who died Monday night at age 93 and in 1989 won the election by 50,000 votes out of nearly 2 million cast. That’s little more than 2% of the total.
But despite that relatively narrow divide, and despite the fact Dinkins was succeeding a Democratic mayor — Ed Koch –whose time in office was rocked by multiple corruption scandals, Giuliani didn’t do any of the shady, dishonest things we’ve come to expect from him and his current boss, Donald Trump. No baseless accusations of cheating, no insinuations of international conspiracies, no flimsy lawsuits that get laughed out of court, no attacks on Dinkins’ character. And most importantly, no efforts to rile up his supporters to ensure Dinkins became mayor of an even more bitterly divided NYC.
Instead, Giuliani immediately acknowledged reality — that he lost — and congratulated Dinkins on his victory. What’s more, he angrily pushed back when during his concession speech his supporters rejected peace.
Giuliani began his concession speech telling assembled supporters “I’ve just spoken to Mayor-Elect David Dinkins.” But when the audience responded with loud, angry boos, and more than few people began to shout “recount!” Giuliani seemed to lose his cool.
“No, no, no, no. Nope. No no. No. Stop that. No! Quiet. QUIET!” Giuliani shouted as he waved the crowd to simmer down.
“I can be tough, the other part is sometimes more difficult, but I assure you I’m also nice,” Giuliani joked. “But, I just spoke to Mayor-Elect David Dinkins on the telephone, I’ve congratulated him, and I’ve wished him and his family the very best for the future of New York, and their future. And they deserve your applause. Applaud for them.”
Giuliani — yes, the same guy you’ve seen recently losing his marbles over the idea Trump might have to admit losing the 2020 election — then led the audience in a round of applause for Dinkins.
“David Dinkins’ victory is a historic event. He’ll be the first,” Giuliani continued before having to pause because, for some reason, the audience picked the moment he was about to note Dinkins’ status as the first Black mayor of New York to begin booing again.
“Recount, recount!” one woman shouted, joined shortly after by at least two men.
“Shhh. Please. Please. Please,” Giulani said as he struggled to get them to shut up.
Giuliani spent the next several minutes asking the crowd to stop shouting until he finally managed to get to his point.
“Please be quiet and listen to me. It’s very important for the future of our city that we all come together. And I want you to show that spirit! Now do it! Alright?” Giuliani said, literally yelling the last bit. “We love New York, don’t we? Alright. And we’re gonna unify behind the mayor of New York, aren’t we? Yes!”
It was at this point where 1989 Giuliani perhaps differed most from the 2020 model. We’ll just lay out what he said for you to see:
“Because that’s the democratic process, and we believe in it, don’t we? Listen, just listen. David Dinkins has achieved a historic victory here. He is the first African American to hold the office of Mayor of the City of New York, and that is a historic achievement for which we all applaud.
We had a hard fought campaign. And now, in the finest tradition of our democracy, we will work together with all our might to build a great city here in New York.”
Giuliani of course ran again for mayor in 1993 and won, serving in the office until 2001. Maybe someone should introduce the guy working for Trump to the guy who made that 1989 speech.
Watch the entire concession speech above.