Reflecting on the sacrifices of first responders on Sept. 11, 2001, then-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said Friday that the "American spirit" was alive in spite of the terrorist attack that attempted to "destroy it."

"Frankly, we weren't quite as partisan. We weren't quite as divided into two camps as we are today, so, it was a little bit easier for us to come together and there was more of a feeling of general patriotism then. That percentage of people that feel that is down," Giuliani told "Fox & Friends."

Giuliani went on to say, "We didn't have people taking a knee in those days to the national anthem or people burning flags. That had been in the '70s and '80s. We were long past that. So, it was pretty easy to summon up patriotism. You weren't having this kind of hate-America movement going on that was countering it."

Co-host Brian Kilmeade later noted, “We remember people wearing those hats, tourists coming in to get an NYPD or an FDNY hat it seems like yesterday, but now it is just the opposite,” referencing the defund the police movement sweeping the U.S.

Giuliani responded, saying terrorists “feed off weakness. They can smell weakness. Can you imagine the weakness we are showing them now? Can you imagine? We are defunding the police department that has the best anti-terrorism unit in the world.”


New York City lawmakers voted in July on budget changes that shifted $1 billion from the New York Police Department to programs that assist in youth and community development, a number that fell short of what many protesters in the city have demanded.

Giuliani said the Islamic extremist terrorists did not achieve their goal of “breaking the spirit of America and destroying our way of life” in 2001.

“We defeated the terrorists. They killed 2,790 or so people that day and then more after. They wanted to defeat us, they wanted to defeat America,” he said.


“The firefighters, and, I emphasize, the police officers saved us by being so brave that the next day’s story was as much about their bravery as about the evil of the Islamic extremist terrorist."

Fox News' Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.