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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Rudy Giuliani's soundest advice for Trump was out there long ago

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lawyer, seen on

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lawyer, seen on July 9.  Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Saul Loeb

Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now best known as President Donald Trump's defender in endless media appearances, once authored a book called "Leadership." It was published in 2002 when his prestige as a public figure and speaker reached its height.

The book spelled out what the former mayor and U.S. attorney called key principles derived from his experiences, including City Hall's response to the 9/11 devastation. Forget its high praise for a city commissioner who'd later serve time for corrupt acts on the job; "Leadership" made several compelling points.

Had Trump followed Giuliani's best published advice, the president might have avoided crises he now faces.

One chapter is titled "Study. Read. Learn Independently," in which Giuliani says: "Anybody who's going to take on a large organization must put time aside for deep study."

That's just not Trump. Nobody in the White House or elsewhere has effectively denied the statement made in Michael Wolff's critical book "Fire and Fury":

"He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes, he was no more than semiliterate.”

Giuliani also wrote: "The two-word sign on my desk genuinely summarizes my whole philosophy: I'M RESPONSIBLE.

"Nothing builds confidence in a leader more than a willingness to take responsibility for what happens during his watch."

But Trump blames others for all that goes wrong.

Recently he even tried pinning fault on the "out" party for his administration's policy of family separation for would-be immigrants and refugees at the southern border. He tweeted: “Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!” In the end, he unilaterally caved.

Giuliani also made sense on managing expectations. "Underpromise and overdeliver," he urged in "Leadership." "In the long run, grand rhetorical promises undermine a leader's authority . . . If the results fail to match the prediction, the leader leaves everyone with the fear that the word of the boss cannot be trusted."

Five days before taking office, Trump said people covered under his upcoming new health care law “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”

Nobody knows how Trump could ever deliver on that one. 

Giuliani also stressed the importance of core beliefs. Last week, a dissident senior White House aide said of Trump in an anonymous published piece: "Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making."

So these days, Giuliani the Trump surrogate delivers legal and political spin on the Russia probe. In this way, he shows an effort to protect, on his friend's behalf, the presidency he never won for himself.

"Leadership," which sold more than a million copies by 2003, meanwhile gathers dust on shelves across the nation, unheeded by at least one person it might have helped.

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