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Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, has been floated as a prospect for nomination as U.S. Secretary of State in the Trump administration — and Giuliani has expressed strong interest in this key cabinet post.

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Psychological analysis of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani — a 2000 candidate for U.S. Senate and a 2008 contender for the Republican nomination for president — conducted in 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 by Joshua Jipson, Will Piatt, Catherine London, Julie Seifert, and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics revealed that Giuliani’s primary personality pattern is Dominant/aggressive, with secondary features of the Conscientious/dutiful and Ambitious/confident patterns. The combination of highly dominant and conscientious patterns in Giuliani’s profile suggests an aggressive enforcer personality composite.

Leaders with that particular personality profile are characteristically tough and uncompromising, with a forceful style that permits them to take charge in times of crisis; however, they are not known for being very diplomatic.

Giuliani’s major personality strength in a high-level leadership role is a forceful, commanding personality style that permits him to take charge in times of crisis and inspire public confidence. His major personality-based limitation is a controlling, occasionally punitive, tendency to control (which may foster divisiveness and animosity).

Based on his psychological profile, Mayor Giuliani would be a riskier choice for Secretary of State than Gov. Mitt Romney, despite the fact that Giuliani is close to Donald Trump and played a pivotal role as a key surrogate in the president-elect’s successful election campaign.

Considering his personality profile and leadership experience in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack and its aftermath, Giuliani would be better suited as Secretary of Homeland Security or Director of National Intelligence.


Related research reports

The Political Personalities of 2008 Republican Presidential Contenders John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Portland, OR, July 4–7, 2007. Abstract and link for full-text (30 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons:

The Political Personality of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Chicago, July 6–9, 2012. Abstract and link for full-text (35 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons:


Related opinion columns

Giuliani’s Past is Glimpse of Future
Mayor Rudy Giuliani (right) at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Nov. 14, 2001. (Photo: Robert D. Ward / Office of the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs)

By Catherine London (with Aubrey Immelman)
St. Cloud Times
November 29, 2007 (p. 8B)


In the wake of 9/11, Giuliani’s dominant personality pattern allowed him to capture the public imagination, demonstrating strength in the face of adversity. Yet before the terrorist attacks, the name Rudy Giuliani often conjured images of an unyielding, contentious, prickly mayor nastily denouncing his critics and spitefully retaliating against reporters who dared to pose “moronic” questions to the hardheaded, outspoken “Emperor of the City.”

Giuliani’s forceful, uncompromising manner, though in many ways an asset in his quest to wrest control of the mean streets of New York City from lawless elements, served as a double-edged sword as the public witnessed a voracious appetite for belittling opponents with derisive social commentary. Despite his successes as mayor, Giuliani had developed a reputation for his overbearing and abrasive style, occupying the role of theatrical antagonist on the public stage as New Yorkers watched his fiery outbursts play out against the backdrop of the city.

Giuliani’s forceful rhetoric and oversized personality once again took center stage in the aftermath of 9/11, but this time for the public good. His commanding, authoritative presence, which had sparked so much controversy during his mayoralty, now served him well as he rallied America from his perch atop the rubble of ground zero. …

Throughout Giuliani’s years in the public spotlight, he consistently demonstrated strength of leadership and a commanding presence, which allowed him confidently to take the helm in times of crisis. These qualities are rooted in a personal dynamic best described as an “aggressive enforcer” — a personality composite given substance by a sometimes volatile combination of aggressive dominance verging on hostility and an almost obsessively conscientious tendency that shades into self-righteous rigidity. …

Full report


Is ‘New Rudy’ the Real Rudy?

Rudolph Giuliani is seen while Mayor of New York City holding a news conference at City Hall - New York, NY - Apr 27, 2000
New York major Rudolph Giuliani holding a news conference at City Hall, April 27, 2000.

By Aubrey Immelman
St. Cloud Times
June 4, 2000 (p. 9B)


Claims of a new Rudy notwithstanding, logic dictates that Giuliani remains the dominant, controlling, aggressive personality whose combative orientation was as instrumental to his successful track record as a prosecutor as it has been in his crusade to clean up the streets of New York City.

But personality style can be a double-edged sword. During his tenure in the mayor’s office, Giuliani has shown a potential for self-defeating rigidity and an unwillingness to compromise, with a penchant for berating his critics and assailing subordinates not acting fully in accordance with his wishes.

While those qualities may be effective in getting the job done in New York City, such fiery zeal may not be the right stuff for success in the U.S. Senate, revered by some as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Giuliani may be better suited for an executive position such as mayor or governor, but the venerable legislative body that is the U.S. Senate is no place for a bellicose brawler in which to advance his political ambitions. …

Full report


Senate Would Test Giuliani’s Resolve

Photo of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani
New York mayor Rudy Giuliani

By Joshua Jipson and Will Piatt (with Aubrey Immelman)
St. Cloud Times
December 12, 1999 (p. 9B)


The dominant feature of Rudy Giuliani’s personality is a controlling, aggressive tendency, which is an attribute instrumental in his past political successes. …

Our main concern with Giuliani is his larger personality configuration. When a prominent aggressive tendency combines with moral certitude, the resulting personality prototype is the “hostile enforcer.” …

It’s no secret that Giuliani has harbored long-standing presidential ambitions. … But as president, his hostility would have global implications. Diplomacy, a vital tool in foreign policy, is not a prevalent trait in personalities such as Giuliani’s. …

Recently, the New York Observer asked, “Can Rudy Giuliani tame the beast within?” Let’s hope he can, for should he fail, the fire he spouts may scorch not only Washington, but instigate a larger conflagration. …

Full report


Related reports on this site

Mitt Romney for Secretary of State? (Nov, 19, 2016)

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Why Mitt Romney Won’t Win (May 12, 2011)

Mitt Romney’s Leadership Style (Sept. 3, 2012)

Why Mitt Romney Won’t Be President — In Theory (Oct. 29, 2012)

What Role for Rudy Giuliani in Trump Administration, If Not Secretary of State? (Nov. 20, 2016)

3 Responses to “Rudy Giuliani’s Personality Profile”
  1. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » What Role for Rudy Giuliani in Trump Administration, If Not Secretary of State? Says:

    […] Rudy Giuliani’s Personality Profile (Nov. 25, 2016) […]

  2. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Mitt Romney for Secretary of State? Says:

    […] Rudy Giuliani’s Personality Profile (Nov. 25, 2016) […]

  3. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » A Question of Temperament: Donald Trump’s Fitness to Lead Says:

    […] Rudy Giuliani’s Personality Profile (Nov. 25, 2016) […]

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