A lifelong New Yorker, Rev. Al Sharpton has a unique perspective on Rudy Giuliani’s rise as city mayor and the so-called “Sheriff of Wall Street.”
Speaking on record as part of Rebecca Gitlitz’s revealing new docuseries, “When Truth Isn’t Truth: The Rudy Giuliani Story,” the longtime politician, MSNBC host and founder of the National Action Network shared that the series’ embattled subject is someone who’s always needed “an enemy.”
“Rudy Giuliani was always a calculated, intentional demagogue,” Sharpton said in an exclusive clip shared with TheWrap, which you can watch above. “The way you do politics is find an enemy, beat up on them [and] play on people’s fears and prejudices. He needs an enemy.”
“When Truth Isn’t Truth” is a new political docuseries from MSNBC Films and Time Studios. It reveals the constant vilification at the core of Giuliani’s political career, from cleaning up Wall Street to working in the Trump administration.
The first episode in the four-part documentary series centers on Giuliani’s plans to become the “Sheriff of Wall Street.” According to Bob Liff, NY Newsday and Daily news columnist, his noble intentions quickly took a turn as he exploited the media in his mission to “clean up” Manhattan’s financial hub.
“He always managed to let the press know [when he walked out of this office],” Liff said. “He would very much exploit press coverage of walking an accused.”
Giuliani’s time on Wall Street in the 1980s also coincided with his desire to create enemies, as Wall Street staples like Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken became his “new villains.”
“They were the ‘greed is good’ people, and Rudy went after them,” another interviewee said of a 1987 case in which Giuliani prompted the arrest and charge of several stock brokers for insider trading. “It was fantastic and for New Yorkers. It was a spectacle, and Rudy, in his ruthless way, would make these guys do a perp walk.”
Hailing from Time Studios and MSNBC Films, Gitlitz directs alongside co-executive producer Spencer Wilking and producer Natalie Jowett. Ian Orefice, Loren Hammonds, Alexa Conway, Mike Beck, Rebecca Teitel, Amanda Spain and Rashida Jones serve as executive producers for the docuseries.
The first episode of “When Truth Isn’t Truth: The Rudy Giuliani Story” premieres Sunday, Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC and streams the next day on Peacock.
Watch the exclusive clip in the video above.