1. One of Trump’s closest associates was Rudy Giuliani and in 2007 you worked with Mayor Giuliani on his presidential campaign (note to the reader: Giuliani lost in the primaries to John McCain). The past 14 years, however, have been quite controversial for the former mayor. If Rudy was to run in 2024, would you still support him?
I really regret that involvement; I got involved with the Giuliani campaign because one of my closest friends was one of his top advisers and they asked me 'can you help?' I volunteered, this wasn’t a job for me- I wasn’t getting paid, and I went and helped. What upset me is that I had lived in New York in the 1990s and I'd worked for a think tank that worked on New York City issues; I had remembered the Giuliani of 1994 and 1995. He wasn't always the world's nicest person, but he was a great mayor, super effective and made the city truly a better place: safer, cleaner and got the finances working. That was the guy I remembered when I got involved. Then, after I'd left New York - I lived in Toronto for a while, I lived in Washington for a while - I sort of lost track of him. When I got involved with the campaign, you could see something had really gone wrong. Between 1995 and 2007, and I won't speculate on what it was, something had gone wrong and more has gone wrong since then. It’s a reminder that the story of a life has to include all of its chapters, and so does the story of Giuliani’s life. There are very good chapters to be written about the parts in the 1990s and the chapters that come after are very bad.
2. Many readers are eager to hear about Trump and his frequently touted idea of a 2024 presidential run, in part because of his allegation that the 2020 election was 'rigged'. How do you think the capital riots and these claims of fraud will affect his election chances in 2024?
He’s got a number of barriers on the way to 2024. As I mentioned, the legal barriers he will face beyond the impeachment trial, such as the tax returns investigation in New York, will be the first challenge. Trump would have a building and the building would yield a certain rent, but he would give one number to the tax authorities and a different number to his bankers. Maybe one of those numbers was false, maybe both of those numbers were false, but they cannot both be true. If you lie to the tax man, that's tax fraud, if you lie to the bank, that's bank fraud. If you have lied to both, that's both tax fraud and bank fraud. So, he is going to have that problem which might affect his ability to run in 2024. It also depends on whether the Biden administration is perceived as successful. If Biden is perceived as successful, Trump's failures will look worse. So far, we are seeing an incredibly effective change from one of the worst Covid responses in the developed world under Trump to one of the best Covid responses in the developed world under Biden. The vaccine rollout here is happening fast and it is gathering speed. The US is on a trajectory to get over 4,000,000 doses a day- much greater than some of their counterparts such as Canada. Then, the kids can go back to school, young people can date, and older people can travel. It is just like being let out of prison, and the economy is picking up. You can feel the growth in the American economy so Trump is going to have this problem where he is going to make an argument that he was cheated and he will want to say that things were terrible under Biden. But, he started with success and started with a growing economy in 2017 and left us a wreck. Biden inherited a wreck and is building a growing economy. Why should anybody vote for you? I think he's going to look worse next year, even worse than he looks right now. And, while the capital riot matters to people who follow politics closely, to most of the rest of the country what's going to matter is a successful Covid response and getting the economy back on its feet.
3. We've discussed both parties’ key candidates which brings us to the 2024 election on the whole, which is set to have more candidates than any other election in history with contested primaries incredibly likely in both major parties, possibly even a high profile independent. Who would you love to see in running three years from now?
I think it's just too far over the horizon to ask that question. Questions about 2024 must begin with: did the Covid response work? Is the economy grown? And if the answer to those two questions is yes, then it's one election, and if the answer to either of those questions is no, then it's a completely different election. Until we know that, and we will know that by this time next year, we do not know what is going to happen. Another variable is Joe Biden's health; he is the oldest president ever. If he is in good health in 2024 he will obviously run again, if not, then Kamala Harris will probably replace him and then it's a very different thing. But, 2022 is as far ahead as I can see.
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