Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani posed for pictures with a right-wing media personality turned mayoral candidate accused of promoting white nationalism and anti-Semitic literature.
The candidate, Faith Goldy, is a far-right YouTuber who is running to be mayor of Toronto. She posted the photos with President Donald Trump’s lawyer on her Instagram feed Tuesday.
“Just like Giuliani cleaned up the streets of NYC, our tough on crime playbook is going to run illegal guns & gangs right out of Toronto!” Goldy wrote on Twitter.
For Giuliani, the pictures raise questions about the political associations he is keeping while serving the president. For Goldy, they mark yet another strange publicity win in a long-shot and highly controversial mayoral bid.
Goldy has cultivated extensive ties with white supremacist groups and personalities, and regularly deploys their rhetoric. She went to the fatal Charlottesville white supremacist march in August 2017 as a correspondent for right-wing Canadian outlet Rebel Media, but was fired from the site after discussing the event on a show hosted by neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
Later in 2017, Goldy recited the “14 Words," a white nationalist slogan, during a live-streamed interview. Goldy has since called the “14 Words” a “simple statement of survival.” This year, she urged her fans to read a Romanian fascist leader’s book about eliminating “the Jewish menace.”
How the two ended up together is not clear. Neither Giuliani nor Goldy responded to requests for comment about the encounter, which Goldy tweeted came after she met Giuliani “while on the campaign trail.”
The picture is far from her first photo-op controversy. In August, Toronto police officers were criticized after they posed with Goldy and her supporters. Ontario premier Doug Ford, the brother of late crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford, faced criticism after he refused to denounce Goldy’s politics after posing for a picture of his own with her last weekend.
While Goldy’s extremist ties apparently haven’t precluded her from meeting the likes of Giuliani and Ford, her campaign has struggled to gain traction with voters against incumbent Mayor John Tory. A September poll found her running far behind Tory and one of his challengers, receiving only 6 percent of the vote compared to nearly 62 percent for Tory.
“It’s so transparently a stunt, I’ve actually been impressed at the ability of most people to see through it,” Jonathan Goldsbie, the news editor for Canadian news podcast network CANADALAND, told The Daily Beast.
Trailing in the polls, Goldy has taken to storming the stages of mayoral debates she was not invited to attend. On Monday, she crashed a forum hosted by an arts organization, only to be removed by police as she complained about the “artsy-fartsy” organizers. (The organization that hosted the debate has said Goldy wasn’t invited because she didn’t respond to a candidate questionnaire about art policy).
Despite her narrow chances of winning, though, Goldy’s mayoral campaign has become a cause celebre in American right-wing circles, where her exclusion from debates is treated as yet more proof that institutions and the media are biased against conservatives. Conspiracy theory outlet Infowars, where Goldy has appeared as a guest, fumed that police removed her from the debate.
While the mayoral bid has earned Goldy attention in the United States, Toronto Star city hall bureau chief David Rider told The Daily Beast that Goldy’s bid is being treated like an obvious publicity stunt—and not a particularly successful one.
“It costs really almost nothing to enter the mayor’s race,” Rider said.