NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - A grocery store worker on Staten Island was arrested Sunday (June 26) after hitting Mr Rudy Giuliani on the back while the former mayor campaigned on behalf of his son, a Republican candidate for governor, according to police and Mr Giuliani.
In a brief interview, Mr Giuliani said he was walking through a ShopRite grocery store in the Charleston neighbourhood with supporters when the employee disparaged him and slapped his back, then made an apparent reference to abortion.
"The one thing he said that was political was 'You're going to kill women, you're going to kill women'," said Mr Giuliani, who said he understood the remark to be about the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe versu Wade on Friday.
The initial account shared by police did not mention abortion but said an unnamed 39-year-old man had hit Mr Giuliani in the mid-back while saying, "What's up, scumbag?"
The man was taken into custody. Police were still investigating, and it was not immediately clear what, if any, charges the man could face.
Mr Giuliani, a Republican who recently served as former president Donald Trump's personal lawyer, has had a long and conflicted relationship with abortion rights - first opposing them, then supporting them, then reversing himself again.
Earlier Sunday, he said on his radio programme that he had gone through "a torturous, intellectual, and emotional and moral situation with abortion" before ultimately concluding that he opposed it.
Mr Giuliani is under intense scrutiny for his role in Mr Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which culminated in a deadly riot at the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. In the interview, he denounced political violence.
"This has to stop. This is getting ridiculous," he said.
"I've been in politics 50 years, I've never been attacked like this."
Mr Giuliani said he had red marks on his back but was not bleeding and had remained on his feet after being struck. He had been planning to hand out flyers for son Andrew, before Tuesday's Republican primary for governor.
The younger Giuliani was not on hand.
"My back hurts, but otherwise, I'm able to walk and stuff like that," the former mayor said. "He almost knocked me down. Thank God, for a 78-year-old, I am in pretty good shape."