Days after Bernard Kerik withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Homeland Security, the White House officials say they are not consumed over what happened. Maybe so. But it turns out the Kerik controversy is far more colorful and spicy than even the White House could have imagined.
Bernard Kerik was with the then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani on 9/11 and that he was President Bush’s favorite police commissioner, especially during the fall campaign.
But now, Bernard Kerik’s image has changed.
Kerik called the controversy around him to be like a snowball rolling downhill. “It just gets bigger and bigger,” he says.
Kerik all but admitted this week that he had two extra marital affairs, including one with Judith Reagan, the publisher of his autobiography.
But it gets even worse. Several newspapers and magazines allege that Kerik has mob ties, made $6 million dollars in questionable stock profits on stun guns, and was the subject of an arrest warrant for unpaid condominium fees.
According to the New York Daily News, Kerik had a “secret love nest” that was used for “passionate liaisons.”
Based on the president’s nomination remarks, it seemed like he was the last to know. Reports indicate that the White House had hints of trouble with Kerik before President Bush nominated him.
A year and a half ago, when Kerik was asked to train a new Iraqi police force, Kerik promised to stay in Baghdad for six months. He left after three.
And administration officials acknowledge hearing whispers about “Kerik’s colorful past,” though they deny it was to the extent revealed by reporters. White House officials say Pres. Bush relied heavily on Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. They say Giuliani made personal pleas for Kerik, his friend and a business partner in a consulting firm.
Giuliani has apologized to President Bush, but denies this entire episode has diminished his own presidential prospects. “My reputation has a long history to it and I’ll rest with it, I’m pretty comfortable with it.”
In the mean time, the president is expected to nominate a new Homeland Security Secretary in the coming days… officials say this nomination will be steady, stable, and without the kind of baggage that brought down Bernie Kerik.