The First Amendment does not give Occupy Wall Street protesters the right to take over private property and engage in illegal activities, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says.
“You have no right to pitch a tent in the middle of New York City, I’m sorry,” Giuliani said on Sean Hannity’s radio show this afternoon. “That is not the First Amendment.”
President Barack Obama’s empathy for the 2-month-old movement and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lack of action to stop it are an embarrassment to the nation and the city, Giuliani said.
Giuliani’s comments came on a day when police and the protesters had squared off as they marched through the city in an effort to fulfill their promise to shut down the New York Stock Exchange.
“The minute you have any place where you have to put up a place [to] protect a woman against rape, then you’ve got to come in and get rid of those people,” Giuliani told Hannity. “You can’t tolerate that in a civilized city.”
Giuliani said he delivered a speech at a high-level economic conference last week in China, where the first question posed to him involved the protests.
“This thing has gone around the globe, and it’s beginning to characterize us,” he said. “This is what they think we’re about.”
He described the protesters as “disgruntled bums” and “leftover hippies from the ’60s and ’70s.”
“When I see them on television sometimes, particularly the older ones, it looks like I’m seeing the leftover effects of having taken too many drugs when they were 20 years old,” he said. “They make no sense. They babble.”
Giuliani said that, if he still were mayor, he would have stopped the protests in their tracks.
“I would have stopped it on Day One,” he said. “I would have handled this differently. I took over a city that had had two riots in the two years before I was mayor. I didn’t have a riot, because I didn’t let it start.”
Also during the interview on Hannity’s show, Giuliani addressed the Republican presidential race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s surge in the polls should worry the Obama camp, he said.
“Newt has done a terrific job in the debates,” he said. “I would imagine that the Obama administration, although they may fear [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney the most . . . they probably fear debates with Newt more than anyone else. There’d be no contest between Obama and Gingrich.”