“I feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani today,” Earnest said at the White House press briefing.
“It’s sad to see when somebody who's attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly,” Earnest said of the former Republican mayor.
Earnest said the president has expressed his love for America on numerous occasions and highlighted the last line of this year’s State of the Union address when President Obama said “God bless this country we love.”
At a private dinner in New York City on Wednesday, Giuliani, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008, said he does not believe President Obama loves America.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said, according to Politico. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”
Giuliani doubled down on his comments in an interview with FOX News on Thursday.
Asked if he wanted to apologize for his comments, the former New York City mayor said, “Not at all. I want to repeat them.”
In a separate interview with the New York Times, Giuliani dismissed criticism that his comments were racist.
“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Giuliani said. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
“One of the GOP frontrunners was sitting just feet away, and didn’t say a word,” Wasserman Schultz said of Walker.
Several Republican presidential contenders have declined to weigh in on Giuliani’s controversial comments.
"The mayor can speak for himself," Walker said in an interview with CNBC Thursday. "I'm not going to comment on what the President thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well.”
“If you are looking for someone to condemn the Mayor, look elsewhere,” Jindal added.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Republicans shouldn't be expected to account for every comment made by a fellow Republican.
"I don't feel like I'm in a position to have to answer for everyone in my party who makes a claim. Democrats aren't asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing," Rubio told ABC affiliate WPBF. "I don't know why I should answer every time a republican does. So I will suffice it to say I believe the President loves America. His ideas are bad."
The White House made a subtle dig at Giuliani in a tweet on Thursday, using the hashtag "#ObamaLovesAmerica"