Rudy Giuliani was ripped on social media Friday after he called the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center “in some ways, the greatest day of my life.”
The former mayor made the jaw-dropping comment in an interview with Newsmax ahead of Sunday’s 21st anniversary of the terror atrocity that killed 2,996 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.
“The feelings are complex feelings,” Giuliani said when asked about the anniversary.
“I guess the best way to describe it is the worst day of my life,” he said, before adding: “And in some ways, you know, the greatest day of my life in terms of my city, my country, my family.”
Giuliani rose to national prominence in the days and months after 9/11, earning the nickname “America’s Mayor” amid an outpouring of worldwide support and solidarity for the Big Apple.
On Friday, the former mayor by turns recounted the horrors of the day and mused on how future generations should learn about the tragedy.
“The first shocking incident … that really put it beyond anything I’d ever experienced before — and boy, I’d experienced a lot as mayor — was to watch a man jump 101 floors,” he said. “I was transfixed by it, and all the things that go through your head: Why is he doing it? How did he make that choice? Oh my God, can I stop it?”
“All of a sudden he hit the ground, and to watch what happened to his body — which I will not describe — I said to myself at that moment, ‘I better watch out. This could put you in shock,’” Giuliani added.
The ex-mayor then recalled that he grabbed then-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik and told him, “We’ve never faced this, America’s never faced this — we’re going to have to invent a rulebook.”
“And he said, ‘Boss, nobody better than you,’” Giuliani recalled.
Later in the segment, Giuliani said schoolkids should learn about the tragedy in the context of the resilience Americans showed in response to the attack, “which I don’t know, I’m not sure is there right now.”
“This was an extraordinarily brave response by a country that has enormous depth of strength in their liberty and freedom and history,” he added. “It has to be taught.”
In response, Twitter users accused the former mayor of being thoughtless or narcissistic in his remarks.
“Rudy has found the upside of 3,000 Americans being sent to their fiery deaths,” wrote Christian Schneider of the Cato Institute.
“As a New Yorker, I vividly remember the feelings of shock, sadness, anger, confusion, and most of all that a sense of innocence was lost,” sportswriter Denis Gorman reacted. “Twenty-one years later, those feelings remain. You know what feeling I didn’t have then and don’t have now? One of self-aggrandizement.”
“Sorry did this man just Charles Dickens 9/11?” asked Blake Goodman, referring to the iconic “best of times, worst of times” opening of the novelist’s “A Tale of Two Cities.”
“Super normal thing to say,” deadpanned Democratic consultant Tim Hogan.
“I can’t believe this is real, and yet it is,” reacted City Council Member Rita Joseph. “Calling the biggest tragedy in the history of our city ‘the greatest day of my life’ is just absolutely cruel and heartless.”
Giuliani could not be immediately reached for further comment.