Senate

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

Sen. Rand Paul (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.

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 Scalise (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 Booker (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 Kavanaugh'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.

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