There’s a lot of chatter out there about former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s appearance on Good Morning America where he told George Stephanopoulos “we had no domestic attacks under Bush – we’ve had one under Obama.”
Obviously this ignores a certain horrible event on September 11, 2001.
This did not escape the White House’s notice.
“There were a number of things that didn’t quite seem to jive with the better part of reality,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at Friday’s briefing. “I think he mentioned there not being any domestic terror attacks in the previous administration… It’s interesting that the mayor of New York had forgotten that.”
A spokesman for the former Mayor clarifies, saying that the remark “didn't come across as it was intended” and that he was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”
By “on our soil,” the former mayor is not including either Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab’s failed Christmas Day attack or Richard Reid’s December 22, 2001 attempt to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami.
So the spokesman says that the “one” attack that Giuliani says took place during the Obama administration was a reference to the alleged Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan.
Some might argue, however, that even with this quite significant clarification, Giuliani is ignoring some other acts of terrorism:
• Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian national who on July 4, 2002 shot and killed two Israelis and wounded four others at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. The FBI would later say Hadayet was motivated by opposition to Israel and US policy in the Middle East and the shootings fit the definition of terrorism.
• The 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people;
• DC sniper John Allen Muhammed, who killed at least 10 people in 2002 and was convicted by a Virginia court of terrorism, among other charges.
It’s worth noting, however, that neither the anthrax killer nor the DC sniper were firmly established as having been motivated by extremist Muslim ideology.
UPDATE: The Giuliani spokesperson says the former Mayor does not consider the events with Hadayet, Muhammed, or the anthrax attacks Islamist terrorist attacks since "he was referring to what are known islamic terrorist attacks."
ALSO: My colleague George Stephanopoulos adds that critics who say he should have pressed Giuliani on this misstatement in the moment “are right.”