What Giuliani Learned From Ed Koch: 'I Tried to Copy Him'

Former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch had a long-standing love-hate relationship that played out in the pages of New York’s daily newspapers for nearly three decades.

Although the two never went toe-to-toe in the political arena, Giuliani was often the target of Koch’s ire in his Daily News columns, which were eventually compiled into a book called Giuliani: Nasty Man.

But in later years, their relationship mellowed, and even became amicable. Giuliani even said he took some tips from Koch, when he became the city’s mayor.

"I always admired Ed Koch even when I was disagreeing with him," said Giuliani, who noted he met Koch when he was cross-examining him as assistant U.S. attorney during a trial against a Congressman in which Koch appeared as a character witness.

Giuliani said he tried to emulate some parts of Koch's administration.

“He was always leading from the front. If there was a fire, if there was a hostage situation, Ed Koch was there, showing the people of the city that the mayor, you know, was concerned, the mayor was interested, the mayor was involved, the mayor empathized,” he said. “I tried to copy that.”

Giuliani also praised Koch’s legacy as a “consequential mayor” in the city’s history.

“He led the city during very difficult times,” Giuliani said. “And I think through it all, he always kept a sense of optimism, a sense that you can solve problems.”

Listen to Giuliani’s full interview with WNYC’s Eddie Robinson by clicking the audio above.