Usually January 1st is the day we recap the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown. However, this year, we had a delayed start and it is still on-going. However, even it was completed, I’m not sure today’s topic would have been bumped from the Editor’s Corner – namely the topic of Rudy Giuliani and the feedback from the Feature Story “The Myth of Rudy Giuliani Saving the Cigar Industry”.
Cigar Coop was founded in 2010. Without a doubt, this Feature Story received the most feedback of any story I have ever written. It’s a polarizing topic, and one that I found deserves a postscript.
The premise of the article was this:
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is well known for his love of cigars. Following his friend Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election, there was talk of Giuliani being up for a Cabinet post in the Trump Administration. Given Giuliani’s ties to Trump and potentially having an influential role in the Administration came the buzz that Giuliani would be the cigar industry’s white knight – and that he would lead the charge to help the cigar industry get out from regulations set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While Giuliani did not get a Cabinet post, this idea of Giuliani “saving the cigar industry” was in this author’s opinion (who is a Giuliani fan) – something that was never going to happen.
I had been talking about this topic on Stogie Geeks and several other radio shows. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to get a backlash once this article came out. There were six comments / themes that seemed to come up over and over again.
1. “What are you trying to accomplish by going after Rudy Giuliani?”
First up, this is not a personal attack on Giuliani. I strictly looked at Giuliani’s track record – or lack of a track record.
One thing I love about the cigar industry is how we look at the glass half full as opposed to half empty. We get excited when we think things are going to go our way. How many times have we seen this optimism only to be let down in the end?
My criticism here is more for those who are trying to paint Giuliani as this person who is going to help us. When I look at Giuliani’s record, I feel its a false sense of hope is being created here. I don’t want to see the cigar industry let down again. I’d rather pin my hopes on the fighter that gives us a puncher’s chance.
2. “I heard from a major manufacturer that Rudy is already helping us”
If something is going on behind the scenes, most people are not aware of it. If something is truly happening, I do question why this is being kept such a secret. We all know that Rudy Giuliani loves cigars. Given Giuliani does not have a track record of doing anything for the cigar industry, I can’t help but be skeptical on about the fact he is helping us.
If on Giuliani’s election night appearance on Fox News, he had spoken out against the FDA, I would be more inclined to believe this.
3. “I heard Giuliani is going to meet with Trump”
This echoes my answer above as I’m skeptical Giuliani is doing anything because of a lack of track record and a lack of speaking out against the FDA.
More importantly, I ask what exactly is this forum going to be? Will it be a phone call? Will it be having frog legs over dinner at Trump Tower?
My feeling is that a casual meeting or dinner is wishful thinking and nothing more than a stretch. I believe the only way anyone will be effective with the new President is to execute on a well-orchestrated plan. Most likely such a plan will be one developed and executed by the Department of Health and Human Services – by which the FDA falls under.
Right now, I doubt we will see Giuliani meeting with Trump on anything. Trump has put together a list of nominees for his cabinet and these are the guys he will consult with.
4-“I realize its a long shot, so why be so negative on Rudy?”
I realize criticizing after a popular figure like Giuliani is going to not be taken well. When it’s a popular figure who likes cigars, it’s probably worse.
I do agree with the fact that we should take every shot we have. Nothing would make me happier to write another article next year and say how wrong I was about Giuliani.
But I look at Giuliani as the longest of long shots. Right now, if there is a long shot I would bet on Congressman Mark Meadows and House Freedom Caucus or the (pending at press time) appointment of Tom Price as HHS Secretary as a better shot. Meadows and Price are the fighters with a puncher’s chance. I would think our energies and emotions would be better spent on those people than Giuliani.
5- “President Obama wasn’t friendly to the Cigar Industry so that’s why Rudy didn’t do anything”
This comment to me is an easy excuse to let Rudy Giuliani off the hook for his poor track record and silence on the helping the cigar industry.
Giuliani is a well-known political figure. Whether you agree with his politics or not, he is a well-connected politician. I will buy the fact that Giuliani doesn’t have a lot of friends in the FDA or the Obama Administration, but he does have friends on Capital Hill and Congress.
Glynn Loope, Executive Director of CRA has also pointed out when it comes to the cigar industry’s battle against the FDA. This is not a partisan issue, so in my opinion Giuliani has had eight years to reach across the aisle.
6- “Coop, you are wrong. Rudy’s a friend of this industry. He’s even smoked in my shop”
Other than the fact that Giuliani enjoys a cigar, I’m not sure what “friend of this industry” means.
Friendship needs to be separated out here. I go back to the point I’ve been beating the drum on – where is Rudy Giuliani’s track record? I smoked with Giuliani in 2011 at Up in Smoke in Dallas, Texas while he watched the Yankees in the playoffs, so I’ll agree with you he is a great guy in a cigar shop. When it comes to a commitment, it’s where I still have yet to see anyone tell me what his track record is – and what his plan is to help this industry. My feeling is that neither exist.