Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accused the president of not loving America while speaking at a private dinner for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday night.
Giuliani spoke to a crowd of about 60 conservative business executives and media members at the 21 Club in midtown, according to Politico.com. He also pledged to support Walker if he decides to run for president in the next election.
"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said, according to Politico. "He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."
Walker, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, reportedly sat nearby the entire time. A representative for Walker's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Giuliani later clarified his comments during an appearance on "Fox and Friends."
"First of all, I'm not questioning his patriotism. He's a patriot, I'm sure," he said. "What I'm saying is, in his rhetoric I very rarely hear him say the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say, about how much he loves America. I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it's not in the context of overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he's more of a critic than he is a supporter."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, called the statement "nonsense" and said GOP leaders need to stand up and "say enough."
"Sure, we have policy differences, and we should talk about them. Sure, we have big differences over the direction we should take the country; we should talk about those too," Wasserman Schultz said at a meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs on Thursday morning. "But for them, it's more than that. It's personal, and it's ugly, and there's no sign of it getting better."