- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, lashed out Tuesday at the “violence coming from the left,” linking a recent death threat to a celebrity tweet praising the neighbor who attacked and seriously injured the senator.

Mr. Paul accused 1980s pop singer Richard Marx, now a podcaster with 306,900 Twitter followers, of “advocating violence” for tweeting Sunday: “I’ll say it again: If I ever meet Rand Paul’s neighbor I’m going to hug him and buy him as many drinks as he can consume.”

The next day, Mr. Paul received at his home a large envelope of white powder, which turned out to be non-dangerous, and a picture of him in a neck brace and arm sling with a gun to his head above the message: “I’ll finish what your neighbor started, you motherf——.”

The FBI is investigating.

“Frankly, I’m tired of it. I’m just tired of them allowing this. And I’m tired of them blaming it on the right,” Mr. Paul told Fox News host Martha MacCallum.

He also brought up the 2017 shooting at the Congressional Baseball Game practice by a left-wing activist that injured three, including Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican.

“I was at the ball field when a Bernie Sanders shooter almost killed Steve Scalise, wounded five other people,” Mr. Paul said. “So I’m sick and tired of the violence coming from the left, but I’m sick and tired of the left-wing press then blaming it all on Donald Trump or on me or others.”

Twitter initially told Axios in a Monday statement that Mr. Marx’s tweet did not break the company’s rules.

But the tweet had been removed Tuesday with the message, “This tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

“The Tweet you referenced was in violation of our glorification of violence policy,” said a Twitter spokesperson in a Tuesday email. “The account owner is required to remove the Tweet.”

Mr. Paul blasted the tech giant for allowing the tweet to linger, suggesting that Republicans and conservatives should consider abandoning the platform.

“This is a private company that basically hates conservatives, hates Republicans. They don’t want us on there,” he said. “Ultimately, the answer, maybe, is Republicans need to just quit. We just need to leave it, because, every day, they allow hundreds, if not thousands of people to wish me and my family violence.”

Mr. Marx had criticized the senator for declining to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mr. Paul, an ophthalmologist, said he has natural immunity already after battling the virus last year.

“He’s an irrational idiot. He’s angry because I’m not getting vaccinated,” Mr. Paul said. “Well, guess what? In India, there’s not enough vaccines. Do you think we should be debating whether people in India should be getting the vaccine who have already had the disease, or whether we should save the vaccine for those who have not gotten the disease?”

Mr. Marx tweeted that he “never incited nor even suggested anyone be violent. Certainly not towards the traitor known as Rand Paul. I’m just saying that the fact someone slugged him doesn’t break my heart.”

The singer/songwriter later tweeted in response to conservative pundit Robby Soave: “Yeah, Robby. I’m the only person on Twitter who’s ever referenced Rand Paul’s neighbor. Must have been me.”

Mr. Paul said Tuesday that he “almost died” after the 2017 attack, saying he suffered six broken ribs, three of which were dislocated and rubbed against each other, and a damaged lung.

“I had pneumonia twice,” Mr. Paul said. “A year later, I was coughing up blood, then had to have a portion of my lung removed, then got an infection in the space between the lung and the chest wall, and almost died from that, and have permanent scarring of my lung.”

The neighbor, Rene Boucher, was sentenced to eight months’ prison in 2020 for the assault on Mr. Paul as he did yard work at his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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