A scary scene unfolded late on Thursday night at Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), his wife Kelly, and two friends were attacked by rioters in Washington, D.C. Video shows the senator being shouted down, and physically pushed and prodded as D.C. police attempted to fend them off and escort them to their hotel. The scene is chilling.
Sen. Paul, who has been attacked in public two times before, does not believe that the crowd of 100-plus that descended on him last night was there by chance, simply protesting President Trump's speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
"This also isn't normal, there's something going on here," Paul told Fox News on Friday morning. He described in detail the moments of terror in which he and his group attempted to make it to their hotel, just across the street from the White House. Rather than leaving through the guest exit, which was overrun with rioters, the Secret Service loaded Paul, his family, and several others onto a secure bus and transported them to the Trump Hotel down the street. From there, Paul said, he tried to take an Uber back to his own hotel, but the road was clogged with more chaos.
"I regret that I made this decision but I said, ‘We’ll walk the two blocks.’ We walked one block, but as we walked one block, we could see some police in the distance, but we also saw a mob of about 30 people marching and yelling." As they attempted to go forward the last block to their hotel, the mob recognized the Republican senator. As word got out that Paul had been spotted, even more people circled around him, eventually burgeoning to more than 100 screaming, threatening rioters.
Paul said D.C. police attempted to shield them with their bodies and bicycles as the mob closed in. At one point, a police officer was shoved to the ground. Video showed Paul reaching back to assist the officer.
Eventually, they all made it back to their hotel safely, even as rioters attempted to follow them inside. Paul thanked the police for their help, saying if it weren't for them, he felt they would all have been killed or severely injured.
Paul further said the "idiot" rioters who kept shouting for him to "say her name," referring to Breonna Taylor, had no idea who he was or the work he'd done in criminal justice reform: the very policies protesters claim to care about. Sen. Paul, in fact, authored the bill that would have banned the type of 'no-knock' warrant that led to the brutal shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Paul has also worked on or authored more than 20 bills seeking to reform criminal justice, shorten prison sentences, and even end qualified immunity, a top item on protesters' list of demands.
Paul also dismissed the notion that these were just angry residents of D.C. The horrifying scene he endured in the short walk he tried to take back to his hotel was clearly organized, he said. Paul said the rioters wore fresh clothes, were well-equipped, and he believed many of them to be from out of town.
This seemed like coordinated work, he said, with significant financial backing. The benefactor of the violence and threats, he said, needed to be investigated.
"This also isn't normal, there's something going on here. . . the FBI needs to be involved," Paul said. "My feeling is that there's interstate criminal traffic being paid for across state lines, but you won't know unless you arrest them... I promise you that at least some of the members and the people who attacked us were not from D.C....they were paid to be here."
But, Paul said, no one will discover who is controlling the rioters until they are arrested for their criminal acts, which simply isn't happening.
"They were inciting a riot and they would have killed us if the police had not been there. They all need to be arrested, and I'm not saying forever, but they need to be arrested and questioned."
Paul said simple questions of the criminal rioters would lead to answers that could help the FBI determine who is really in charge. Questions like, who pays for their airfare, their fancy hotels, and their equipment would lead investigators to answers quickly, Paul said.
"Somethings going on here and it's much bigger than people think."