Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and his wife were confronted and accosted by a group of rabid protesters as they left the White House after President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech Fox News reported.
“Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to DC Police Dept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob,” Senator Paul tweeted after the encounter according to Reuters. The confrontation was captured on video.
The attack on Paul came at the end of the four-day Republican National Convention. The RNC, like the Democratic National Convention the previous week, was forced to adopt a different format this year due to coronavirus concerns. The culmination of the RNC was President’s Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination, which was held outdoors on the White House’s south lawn.
Anti-Trump demonstrators showed up and held a rally nearby in an attempt to disrupt the President’s speech. They screamed, chanted, beat drums, and blew horns trying to make as much noise as possible as the President spoke. They were unsuccessful in their efforts, however, as Trump’s speech went on as planned with no disruptions.
After the convention ended the demonstrations continued. Fox News reported a video showing a number of demonstrators attempting to gain entry to a bus filled with RNC attendees, while the Daily Caller posted a video online showing protesters shouting obscenities at people leaving the RNC. Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) shared video of angry demonstrators confronting him as he left the White House after the President’s speech.
Paul said he suspected the demonstrators were not locals and were paid to incite violence. “I believe there are going to be people who were involved with the attack on us that actually were paid to come here and are not from Washington, D.C., and are sort of paid to be anarchists,” the Senator said. “The FBI needs to investigate but the only way you can do it is you have to arrest people.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted after the incident, “What happened to Rand & Kelley tonight (and numerous others exiting the RNC) was wrong. The police protecting them were heroic, but this needs to stop. This is very close to escalating to serious violence.”
Georgia Democratic Representative Vernon Jones, who is black, said that he was also surrounded by a mob of protesters who showered him with racial slurs after he spoke at the RNC. He echoed Paul’s charge that the demonstrators were being paid to create unrest. “Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the entire DNC and Congress and all the state heads and chairs of Democratic parties, they need to come out and denounce this hatred, this vitriol, condemn Black Lives Matter and then Antifa. Congress should hold hearings … and hear testimonies from those of us who are being attacked. It should also do a thorough investigation to see who’s funding … these professional domestic terrorists, and they should be held accountable.”
He also called for Congress to pass legislation to make it a hate crime to attack someone based on their political beliefs. “Congress should also pass immediately, to include in the federal hate crime law, that it becomes a hate crime when someone assaults you based on your political ideology and party affiliation,” he said. “Let’s start prosecuting these people for hate crimes.”
The attacks on Paul, Jones, Mast, and others highlights the issue of law-and-order that the President has made a key issue in his reelection campaign. Trump directly addressed the violence in cities across America in his acceptance speech. He said, “During their convention, Joe Biden and his supporters remained completely silent about the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-Run Cities. In the face of left-wing anarchy and mayhem in Minneapolis, Chicago, and other cities, Joe Biden’s campaign did not condemn it – they DONATED to it. At least 13 members of Joe Biden’s campaign staff donated to a fund to bail out vandals, arsonists, looters, and rioters from jail.”