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Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the standard double standard

Some guy who slapped Rudy Giuliani on the back at a supermarket is facing criminal charges, but Giuliani and his former boss have ruined lives with absolutely no consequences.

Trump said armed rallygoers were ‘not here to hurt me,’ Hutchinson says
Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a top aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified before the House panel.

Like many of you, I awaited the hearing Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol with bated breath.

The hearings are summer theater, and Tuesday’s was billed as special, scheduled at the last minute after the committee announced it recently developed information that needed to be shared immediately with the American people.

As a teaser, for reality daytime TV, it was effective.

And it has delivered. The testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, the aide to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, was bombshell after bombshell.

It showed that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani knew the Jan. 6 rally would lead to violence at the Capitol. Giuliani crowed about it four days before the rally. Trump knew the crowd was carrying weapons, but wanted security removed so more of those armed rubes could crowd around the stage and adore him.

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In a scene right out of a movie, Trump tried to wrest control of the steering wheel in his limo so he could join the armed, jacked-up mob marching toward the Capitol.

Given what the House committee has established, based almost entirely on the testimony of Republicans such as Hutchinson, how can Trump and Giuliani and others in that administration avoid criminal charges at this point?

But then, given what they’ve gotten away with so far, why would they worry?

On Sunday, the erstwhile president’s erstwhile lawyer Rudy Giuliani was holding court in a supermarket on Staten Island, campaigning for his son, who is running for governor in New York, when a supermarket employee named Daniel Gill walked up, slapped Giuliani on the back, and said, “What’s up, scumbag?”

Now, the back slap was uncalled for, the language unnecessarily profane. Gill apparently was upset with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and held Giuliani somewhat responsible for working for an administration that has cemented a conservative bloc on the court.

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But what followed, in a country where justice isn’t blind so much as it’s arbitrary, was revealing. Giuliani insisted Gill be arrested and the NYPD duly charged him with assault with intent to cause physical injury, harassment in the second degree, and menacing in the third degree. Gill’s lawyers said he was held in custody for more than 24 hours.

Giuliani went on Curtis Sliwa’s radio show and said the back slap felt “like somebody shot me.”

“He could have killed me,” Giuliani said.

A video of the incident shows something considerably less serious than that. But that’s beside the point.

The point is, some guy making minimum wage at a supermarket in New York is facing the full weight of the law for giving Rudy Giuliani a slap on the back and calling him a name while to date, Giuliani has not faced any consequences for participating in a conspiracy to overthrow a presidential election and ruining the lives of a couple of election workers in Georgia.

At the Jan. 6 committee hearing last week, Georgia election worker Shaye Moss testified that she and her mother were subjected to death threats and widespread harassment after Donald Trump and Giuliani falsely accused them of costing Trump the presidential election by engaging in a plot to count phony ballots for Joe Biden.

Moss’s mother, Ruby Freeman, said she’s afraid to go to the supermarket. I doubt Rudy is — despite his near-death experience at the ShopRite on Staten Island.

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Gill’s lawyers at the Legal Aid Society say one of Giuliani’s entourage followed and threatened Gill after the confrontation, poking him forcefully in the chest, telling him he was going to be locked up. The chest poke was approximately the same as the back slap, unwanted but did not cause physical injury. One gets charged, the other gets bupkis.

Daniel Gill was wrong. He shouldn’t have put his hands on Rudy Giuliani. But he’s being held accountable for his actions.

When will Rudy Giuliani be held accountable for his? When will Donald Trump?

If this country didn’t have double standards, it wouldn’t have any standards at all.


Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at kevin.cullen@globe.com.