WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he’s disappointed in former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for saying he doesn’t think President Barack Obama loves the United States.

“I think his latest comments are not helpful and are unfortunate,” Johnson said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning.

Johnson noted that he was once hired by fellow New Yorker Giuliani as a federal prosecutor and that more recently, the two visited fire stations and police precincts in Lower Manhattan on the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Johnson said he has admired Giuliani’s response to the 2001 attacks but added he’s sorry to see the former mayor make his recent statements.

At an event in New York last week, Giuliani said: “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

His remarks drew widespread criticism from Democrats.

Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a “cheap political trick for Giuliani to question the president’s love of country.”

Jeh Johnson’s ‘Face the Nation’ Interview:

“That is stooping very, very low, even for him,” de Blasio said Thursday. “I think it’s pitiful. I think it’s unfair for anyone to question our president’s patriotism.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he felt “sorry for Rudy Giuliani.”

“It is sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly,” Earnest said.

On Thursday, Giuliani told 1010 WINS he does not regret his wording.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I do think it’s horrible to have to say it. I wish I didn’t have to say it. But I do not get from the president a feeling that he has this overriding love of this country the way other American presidents did with the idea of how exceptional, how wonderful this country is.”

Giuliani said he does not believe Obama has the same understanding or view of western civilization and the exceptional nature of America he has seen in other American presidents.

“I think there is something wrong, I don’t know what it is,” the former mayor said. “But I think some of it has to do with the fact that he was brought up as a critic of America as opposed to an unabashed admirer who can exalt in American exceptionalism and then see our faults and kind of lead us to correcting ourselves with positive reinforcement rather than being lectured on what’s wrong with us, including from Europe.”

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