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Rand Paul on political climate: 'I really worry that someone is going to be killed'

Rand Paul on political climate: 'I really worry that someone is going to be killed'
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said lawmakers should tamp down their political rhetoric, warning that otherwise it could lead to violence.

Paul, during an interview with a Kentucky radio station, said he was concerned that there "is going to be an assassination," after a few tense weeks around the Capitol because of the Supreme Court fight.

"I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation ... they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence," Paul said.

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Paul recounted the June 2017 shooting at a practice session for the congressional baseball game, where a gunman shot five people, including House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseJordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety MORE (R-La.). The Kentucky Republican also recalled how his neighbor assaulted him late last year.

"These are people that are unstable. We don't want to encourage them,” he added. “We have to somehow ratchet it down and say we're not encouraging them that violence is ever OK.”

Paul was asked on the radio show about Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDurbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Booker 'outs' Cruz as vegan; Cruz jokingly decries 'scurrilous attack' Why Latinos should oppose Barrett confirmation MORE (D-N.J.), who urged members of a group advocating for an end to homelessness to "get up in the face of some congresspeople and tell them about common sense solutions."

“I think what people need to realize, that when people like [Sen.] Cory Booker say ‘get up in their face,’ he may think that that's OK,” Paul added. “But what he doesn't realize is that for about every thousandth person that might want to get up in your face, one of them is going to be unstable enough to commit violence.”

Paul's wife, Kelley Paul, wrote an op-ed to Booker in which she appeared to blame him for the threats and protests her husband has faced this past week. Booker's office argued, in a separate op-ed, that his remarks are being taken out of context and that he "has nothing but respect and admiration" for Paul and his family.

Hundreds of protesters flooded the Senate office buildings in opposition to Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett Lindsey Graham says two women confronted him in airport over Barrett 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE's Supreme Court nomination. The heated debate led to Republican senators, and some Democrats, being confronted by activists in hallways around Capitol Hill, at D.C.-area airports and restaurants and in their cars.

Several GOP senators were escorted to votes or committee hearings by Capitol Police, and many have said that they or their staffs received threatening or "vulgar" calls or mail during the confirmation process.