Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) claims that his life was saved by police Thursday night when he says he was “attacked by an angry mob” of protesters when leaving the White House after President Donald Trump’s big Republican National Convention speech.
Videos of the confrontation appear to show that the senator was heckled, but not actually touched by protesters. He only confirmed later that he and his party were not harmed in the incident.
Paul tweeted early Friday: “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.”
Videos from the scene show protesters surrounding the Republican and urging him to say the name of Breonna Taylor, the Black EMT who was killed in a no-knock police raid of her Louisville, Kentucky, home. Police then try to escort Paul through the crowd to a hotel.
In the same video, one of the police officers, who is trying to keep the protesters away from Paul using his bicycle as a shield, appears to be shunted backward by a protester, and knocks into Paul.
Paul doubled-down on his tweet in a later interview on Fox & Friends Friday morning, repeating his claim that he would have been killed if police weren’t there to hold back the protesters. In relation to what actually happened, however, the congressman confirmed that he and his party were unharmed from the incident.
“I truly believe this with every fiber of my being, had they gotten at us they would have gotten us to the ground, we might not have been killed, might just have been injured by being kicked in the head, or kicked in the stomach until we were senseless,” he imagined.
Paul went on to claim, without producing any evidence, that the protesters were not from Washington, D.C., and had been paid to cause disruption in the city. “This is disturbing because really, if you’re inciting a riot that’s a crime, but if you’re paying someone to incite a riot that person needs to go to jail as well,” he said.
He also tried to politicize the incident, incorrectly saying that Joe Biden wants to defund the police who protected him from the protesters.“We can’t have the whole country, we can’t have Joe Biden rule the country and have no police,” said the congressman.
Paul also dismissed the protesters as “idiots,” saying correctly that he proposed a bill to outlaw no-knock warrants by federal officers. “I’m actually the author of the Breonna Taylor law to end no-knock raids, so the irony is lost on these idiots that they’re trying to kill the person who’s actually trying to get rid of no-knock raids,” he said.
Republican lawmakers and commentators rushed to support Paul after the footage spread on social media late Thursday and Friday morning. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to Paul’s tweet to say: “Horrific. Our prayers are with you, my friend.”
Hundreds of protesters had gathered near the White House on Thursday as Trump spoke on the final night of the Republican National Convention. At one point, officers reportedly sprayed a chemical irritant at the protesters.