Sen. Rand Paul says it seems as if it’s only a matter of time before hyper-partisan rhetoric and calls to confront lawmakers in public lead to someone getting killed.
The Kentucky senator told a local radio station on Tuesday that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation shined a spotlight on the nation’s dangerous cultural tensions.
Mr. Paul — who was among the Republican Congress members at the June 2017 softball practice shot up by a left-wing extremist — cited New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s “get up in their face” advice as a contributor to America’s political powder keg.
“I really worry that someone is going to be killed” Mr. Paul told radio host Leland Conway, Mediaite reported. “Those who are ratcheting up the conversation — they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.”
The lawmaker then said that colleagues like Mr. Booker should “ratchet it down” a notch during interviews and campaign events.
“I think what people need to realize is when people like Cory Booker say ‘get up in their face,’ he may think that that’s OK. But what he doesn’t realize is that for about every 1,000 people who might want to get up in your face, one of them is going to be unstable enough to commit violence.”
In addition to surviving the 2017 softball-field shooting that nearly killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Mr. Paul was viciously attacked from behind that November by neighbor Rene Boucher.
Boucher, a registered Democrat, denied political motivations for his actions but made a bargain to plead guilty to assaulting a member of Congress.
Mr. Paul’s radio interview also came against a political backdrop in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that civility with Republicans is not possible while Democrats are not in power.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,” the twice-failed presidential candidate said Tuesday. “I believe if we are fortunate enough to take back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”