“He could have killed me”: Skepticism after video shows “slap” that made Giuliani cry “assault”

“Luckily, I'm a 78-year-old who is in pretty good shape,” he said while recalling being called an "f-ing scumbag"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published June 27, 2022 9:16AM (EDT)

Rudy Giuliani (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rudy Giuliani (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani called police on a man who slapped him on the back at a New York supermarket but a video of the incident cast serious doubts on Giuliani's claim that he could have been "killed."

Giuliani was campaigning at a Staten Island ShopRite for his son Andrew's Republican gubernatorial bid when a store worker slapped him across the back and called him a "scumbag" over his support for overturning Roe v. Wade, according to The New York Post.

Giuliani called the police over the slap and cops arrested 39-year-old Daniel Gill, charging him with second-degree assault involving a person over age 65, according to the report.

Giuliani told reporters after the incident that the slap felt like "somebody shot me."

"Luckily, I'm a 78-year-old who is in pretty good shape," he said after the incident. "He could've easily ... knocked me to the ground and killed me by my head getting hit."

But a surveillance video of the incident cast doubt on Giuliani's claims and raised questions about why police were involved at all.

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"Maybe Rudy Giuliani, who tried to orchestrate a failed overthrow of the 2020 election, is not the most reliable narrator about other things too," tweeted NPR reporter Stephen Fowler.

"Surprised [Giuliani] survived this brutal assault," quipped former GOP operative Tim Miller. "Glad the cops got involved here."

While some Trump supporters tried to stoke outrage over the "leftist assault" on America's mayor, even some conservatives pushed back on those overhyping the incident.

"This is assault in a very technical legal sense of an aggressive, unwanted touching, but it's not assault in the way ordinary people talk," tweeted National Review columnist Dan McLaughlin. "Politically, this is flailing."

Nevertheless, Andrew Giuliani's press shop sent out a statement on Sunday previewing a virtual press conference by Rudy Giuliani to discuss the "attack."

"Innocent people are attacked in today's New York all of the time. This particular incident hit very close to home. The assault on my father, America's Mayor, was over politics. We will not be intimidated by left wing attacks," Andrew Giuliani said in a statement.

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Giuliani told the Post that he was attacked by a worker upset over last week's Supreme Court ruling overturning federal abortion rights.

"All of a sudden, I hear this guy say, 'You're a f–king scumbag,' then he moves away so nobody can grab him," he told the outlet. "And he says, 'You, you're one of the people that's gonna kill women. You're gonna kill women. You and your f–king friend are gonna kill women.' Then he starts yelling out all kinds of, just curses, and every once in a while, he puts in that woman thing."

"The Supreme Court made a decision," Giuliani added. "You don't go around attacking people because of it. I mean, go get it changed."

He told the Post he had an obligation to call the police.

"I say to myself, 'You know something? I gotta get this guy arrested,'" he said. "I talk about 'broken windows' theory all the time. You can't let the little things go. I'm like, 'I'm gonna get this guy arrested as an example that you can't do this. And I said, also, in New York, we don't prosecute people anymore. And one of the reasons I brought crime down is I didn't ignore stuff like this."

Giuliani on Monday likened the attack to the Jan. 6 deadly Capitol riot that he helped stoke.

"We don't do vigilante justice. I don't care if we're on the right, if we're on the left, if we're talking about Jan. 6 or yesterday," he said on his Facebook page. "Let's not participate in that. Let's be peaceful."

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By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Politics Rudy Giuliani