National Security

On 9/11 Anniversary, Rudy Giuliani Reveals What He Said to George W. Bush That Day

America was attacked by terrorists 18 years ago — the nation mourns and remembers, and appreciates our heroes

Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and today a lawyer for President Donald Trump, disclosed on the Fox News program “Fox & Friends” this morning what he said to then-President George W. Bush shortly after the terror attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania 18 years ago today.

Giuliani, of course, was on the scene in lower Manhattan immediately — and spent countless hours, days, weeks and months understanding and sorting through what happened, directing New York City’s response, comforting the survivors and doing so much more to manage the crisis and its aftermath.

He appeared on “Fox & Friends” to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Speaking about those who had done this to America, Giuliani said that “the anger [toward the terrorists who had done this] was tremendous. When I saw President Bush for the first time and he got off the helicopter … He greeted the governor [then-Gov. George Pataki] and came up to me … He [Bush] says to me, ‘Rudy, what can I do?’ I said, ‘When you get bin Laden, let me kill him’ — or I might have said, ‘Execute him.'”

“I think I was thinking as a lawyer,” Giuliani further explained, as Fox News also recounted, during a long interview segment this morning with the three co-hosts of “Fox & Friends.”

“I thought there’d be capital punishment and I could try the case. I had done that for two Nazis. I only had two capital cases in my career — and both of them were Nazis. One had killed 7,000 people. Another had killed 12,000 people — [a] capital case is easy when it’s like that,” he added.

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Among his many comments this morning, Giuliani noted there were and are so many stories of heroism, of rescue, of outsized bravery and compassion that people showed toward others that day.

He told the story about a senior citizen who allowed an elevator to go down without him on it — because the man felt younger people should go first as everyone rushed to escape the crisis at the top of the World Trade Center.

“I can give you 20 other stories like that,” Giuliani said. “An elderly man — people are getting on the elevator and he says, No, no, no.’ He looks at them and he says to about 40 people on the elevator … ‘No, I’ve already lived my life. You’re all younger.’ And he lets the elevator close and then the building blows.”

Related: Comfort for All Those Who Mourn and Are Hurting

Giuliani said that 9/11, 18 years ago today, was the “saddest and happiest” day.

Despite the incredibly painful memories, he said, what happened that day can be a reminder of how America comes together as a country when its people need it most.

“Every year I go there and see all the families and the names,” Giuliani also said. “It’s the saddest day and it’s the happiest day because there was so much bravery. America was at its best for weeks after. You go back and you say now, I wish we could recapture half of that.”

Across the nation, in many cities, America today is remembering what happened 18 years ago.

President Donald Trump is at the Pentagon today and shared remarks and his memories during the commemoration there.

Trump recounted how he saw the second plane fly into the World Trade Center and recognized that the world had changed forever.

“Soon after, I went down to Ground Zero with men who worked for me to try to help in any little way that I could. We were not alone. So many others were around, trying to do the same, all trying to help.”

He also described the “anguish” for the family members left behind about those they had lost that day.

“Your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten,” the president also stressed.

See the mayor’s tweets on this, as well as other comments and reaction below. And share your own.

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meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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