As Rudy Giuliani’s legal bills have piled up in recent months—and as federal investigators intensify their probe into Donald Trump’s longtime associate—the former president appears willing to provide just as much help as he usually does when his friends are in need: next to nothing.
For months now, Trump has consistently ignored or rejected Giuliani’s pleas for assistance. And it’s not just that Trump and other prominent Republicans have been unwilling to open up their wallets or war chests to help offset Giuliani’s mounting legal costs; in many cases, Giuliani’s former Trumpworld comrades have declined to even acknowledge the existence of his legal defense fund, which has struggled to raise much of anything from the public.
“There have been times when I’ve asked people in the [former] president’s orbit to see if Trump wanted to draw attention to the fundraising,” said an ally and longtime associate of the former New York City mayor. “That went nowhere. Many of these people wouldn’t even tweet or retweet [links to the legal fund] when I asked them to.”
Trump has made some sympathetic gestures towards his former attorney, as law enforcement officials have closed in on him. When the state of New York yanked Giuliani’s law license, Trump issued a statement calling him the “greatest Mayor in the history of New York City” and “the Eliot Ness of his generation.”
It’s the only formal statement where Trump has mentioned his prior attorney since Twitter suspended the former president’s account. Other than that, Trump has only mentioned Rudy’s legal troubles once before, in an aside on Fox News calling the FBI search of Giuliani’s apartment “unfair” and “a double standard like I don’t think anybody’s ever seen before.”
But while Giuliani’s longtime friend Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, has pitched in to create a fundraising site for Rudy’s legal bills, few others have been willing to even throw Trump’s former consigliere an RT on Twitter. (Trump himself can’t retweet anything, as he’s banned from Twitter for instigating political violence, but he could issue a statement of support for Giuliani’s fund and have it spread far and wide through the app.)
Crowdtangle, a search tool for browsing posts to public Facebook groups, pages, and verified accounts, shows that virtually no conservative or MAGA heavyweights have echoed Giuliani’s fundraising links at WinRed and the site set up for him by Kerik. The same is true on Twitter, where verified MAGA mega-follower accounts have largely ignored Giuliani’s attempts to fill his campaign coffers.
The stakes for the former New York mayor couldn’t be higher, as he faces a slew of legal troubles. Courts in New York and Washington, D.C., have suspended his law license, depriving Giuliani of an important source of income.
In the meantime, his legal bills continue to grow. Attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems have filed a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit against Giuliani for echoing wild conspiracy theories about the company’s products. Democratic lawmakers have also accused him—alongside former President Trump—of helping to incite the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. And the most serious legal headache for Giuliani looms over all of his troubles: a Justice Department criminal probe into whether he violated foreign lobbying laws through his work in Ukraine.
Naturally, Trump’s sporadic public sympathy hasn’t extended to amplification of Giuliani’s legal defense fund, much less a check from the former president’s well-stocked campaign fund.
According to three sources familiar with the matter, there have been several fruitless attempts this year by Giuliani’s camp to convince Trump to swoop in and provide significant financial support and other forms of assistance to Giuliani. After all, a primary reason Giuliani is even under the investigative gaze of the feds is because of what he did—largely at the former president’s behest—during the Trump-Ukraine scandal.
To Giuliani and his remaining confidants, Trump’s glaring (if predictable) refusal to come to his loyalist’s rescue has been a borderline betrayal of a lawyer who’s landed in legal jeopardy precisely because of how zealously he worked to please Trump.
Still, Giuliani and his advisers are going out of their way to not publicly voice their displeasure with the ex-president’s lack of action or financial relief.
According to a person with knowledge of the matter, Giuliani has reminded those close to him to not name Trump when complaining in public or on social media about how top Republicans have abandoned Giuliani in his time of distress.
“We are allowed to call out the RNC and other Republican leaders,” this source said. “But not Donald Trump.”
Though the former president has remained stingy toward his former top attorney, that hasn’t stopped Trump from throwing Giuliani a bone every once in a while. On Thursday, when the ex-president delivered remarks at a New York GOP fundraiser, he made sure to call Giuliani to the stage, telling attendees, “We love Rudy.”
But beyond Trump’s occasional pat on the head, it’s unclear how many powerful friends Giuliani still has in Trumpland.
In late April, Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity lawyer and Democrat who worked on Trump’s defense team during the first impeachment trial, told The Daily Beast that Giuliani had called him, and that he had agreed to advise Giuliani and his attorneys following the federal raid.
But in the time since, that advisory role appears to be on indefinite hold. “I have not called them, and they haven’t called me,” Dershowitz said in a brief interview on Thursday. “Since then, they have not reached out to me for my advice, and I have not gone to them to offer it.”