Claims to fame: Former NYPD Commissioner under Rudy Giuliani; failed Bush nominee for head of DHS; serial divorcé; multiple-affair cheater
Nickname: “Baghdad Terminator,” for his stint in Iraq to “organize” the local police. (Legend holds that he leapt at the assignment for an all-expenses-paid vacation while his house was being remodeled.)
Moral apex: Anybody can get married three times (and divorced twice), but it takes somebody special to cheat on his wife with two different mistresses — simultaneously: While married to his third wife, he was shacking up with a New York City corrections officer named Jeanette Pinero (who was also married), and with fellow Republican hypocrite, publishing magnate Judith Regan.
The affair with Pinero lasted about ten years, and the affair with Regan lasted about a year — and both might have gone indefinitely if Pinero hadn’t found a love note Regan left in the secret apartment Kerik kept for shagging both women.
End result: Kerik withdrew as George W. Bush‘s nominee to replace Tom Ridge as head of the Department of Homeland Security.
Well, OK, so supposedly he withdrew for other reasons — like graft, and tax evasion, and mob ties, and employing an illegal immigrant as his children’s nanny (yeah, he has kids, too) — but Republicans usually get away with murder when it comes to such mundane stuff. We think the sex scandal was the straw that really broke the camel’s back.
Noted the New York Daily News in late 2004:
Kerik’s affair with Pinero is at the center of two lawsuits against the city, both brought by correction employees who claimed Kerik retaliated after they crossed her.
The city settled one last year for $250,000, The News reported at the time.
The second suit, in which Pinero and Kerik were deposed last week, was filed by former Deputy Warden Eric DeRavin 3rd, who claims Kerik quashed his promotion after he reprimanded Pinero. The city demanded a gag order on both depositions.
Pinero declined to comment.
What’s even worse than cheating on your third wife with two other women: Fathering a daughter while stationed by the Army in Korea, and then deserting both mother and baby. Which Kerik did, in the mid-1970s.
I tried to save the president from all this embarrassment. Believe me, I tried. …
Here’s what I wrote about the former New York police commissioner in the Newsday for Dec. 3:
“He’s a personal and professional time bomb the Bushies will learn to regret. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, guys!”
Could I have been any plainer than that?
So now, I’m trying to think of a nice way to put this. How ’bout:
Tick, tick, tick … KA-BOOM!
— Ellis Henican
I hate to say I told you so … but I told you so
December 12, 2004
Everybody connected to the debacle seems to be trying to do the most convincing impression of Claude Raines in Casablanca, proclaiming he’s shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.
— Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
December 14, 2004
[W]hat happens is, sometimes the administrations and presidents — and remember it‘s George W. Bush who picked this guy after all, not Rudy Giuliani — George W. Bush is the guy who had to make the phone call and offer him the job — they get entranced by the appeal of a particular nominee, and Bernie Kerik is somebody whose fame and notoriety comes out of 9/11. That‘s also where George W. Bush really drew on the wellspring of his own support nationally. Rudy Giuliani did as well that day. And he looked back to that powerful, symbolic relationship in picking this guy, who was a little part Sipowicz, and part Dirty Harry. There‘s an appeal, a macho appeal to that, and they ended up with egg all over their face.
— Wall Street Journal editor John Harwood
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
December 14, 2004
Rest assured, we did significant due diligence.
— White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett,
regarding Alberto Gonzales’ vetting of nominee Bernard Kerik,
December 16, 2004
Fun fact #1: Kerik’s mother was a prostitute. (Not-so-fun-fact: She was murdered.)
Fun fact #2: Regan published Kerik’s whitewashed autobiography, The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice. It was during their “professional” association that their un-professional association developed.
Fun fact #3: Hear tell that when Regan lost her cell phone and some jewelry in the Fox News studios, Kerik sent several NYPD homicide officers to the homes of five Fox employees in the middle of the night to yank them out of bed and interrogate them. (Turns out Regan had just misplaced the phone.)
Fun fact #4: About a month after Pinero and Regan compared notes and both broke up with the hairless Lothario, Kerik’s wife was pregnant again.
Suggested Bible reading for Mr. Kerik:
But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
— Malachi 2:8-9