WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest firefighters union has accused Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, of committing “egregious acts” against firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In a letter to its members Friday, the International Association of Fire Fighters excoriated Giuliani for his November 2001 decision to cut back the number of firefighters searching the rubble of ground zero for the remains of some 300 fallen comrades.
The 280,000-member union accused him of carelessly expediting the cleanup process with a “scoop-and-dump” operation after the recovery of millions of dollars in gold, silver and other assets from the Bank of Nova Scotia that had been buried.
Giuliani’s campaign insisted that he respects and supports first responders.
The former mayor and the union have feuded for years over his policies in the aftermath of the attacks, but the firefighters’ latest criticism comes as several polls show Giuliani ahead by wide margins in the GOP nomination race.
Seeking to blunt the impact of the accusations, his campaign announced the support of nearly 100 South Carolina firefighters and countered with its own letter from Lee Ielpi, a retired New York firefighter.
“There is no one who respects firefighters and first responders more than Rudy Giuliani,” Ielpi wrote.
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