WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul said early Friday morning that he was "attacked" by protesters near the White House after President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the Republican National Convention.
“Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House," the Kentucky Republican tweeted. "Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, retweeted his colleague's post, saying, “Horrific. Our prayers are with you, my friend. @RandPaul This madness has to stop.”
Several hours later, in an interview on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Paul said that he and his wife couldn’t make it to their hotel because of the “mob,” which he said doubled to about 120 people who were “surrounding us, and it got closer and closer, and everybody kept pushing back” as the police formed into a barricade to protect the senator and his party.
“They were shouting threats to us, to kill us, to hurt us, but also threats shouting ‘say her name,’” referring to Breonna Taylor, said Paul, who added that he has proposed legislation to end no-knock warrants. Taylor was fatally shot in March by Louisville police who were executing such a warrant.
“I truly believe this with every fiber of my being: Had they gotten at us, they would have gotten us to the ground,” he said. “We might not have been killed, might just have been injured by being kicked in the head, or kicked in the stomach until we were senseless. You've seen the pictures.”
Paul then repeatedly said he believes the people who confronted him were “hired and from out of town.”
“Specifically in our case, I believe they are going to be people who are involved with the attack on us that actually were paid to come here, are not from Washington, D.C., and are sort of paid to be anarchists,” he said. "This is the new Democrat Party, and if we don't resist this, the United States is going to become Portland. We're going to become Chicago ... all of these failed cities Democrats have run."
Video clips of the situation that circulated on Twitter did not show anyone physically attacking Paul himself, but protesters surrounding and confronting him, with some shoving police as the officers offered him and his wife protection.
Trump denigrated those who protested and accosted Paul after his convention speech during a rally in New Hampshire Friday evening, calling them "thugs."
"He’s a good guy, he’s a friend of mine, and that shouldn’t happen to anybody," Trump said, adding "and those four policemen should be brought over to the White House and we ought to give them a medal of some kind."
The president excoriated D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, with whom he has been at loggerheads in the wake of racial unrest and demonstrations against police brutality in the city.
"Because the democratic mayor of Washington DC, it’s another Democrat that’s not believing in law and order," he said. "And these incredible people from all over the country, all over the world that were there last night — they walked out to a bunch of thugs ... That wasn’t friendly protesters, they were thugs."
Bowser, who gained national attention for painting "Black Lives Matter" on a street near the White House and renaming it Black Lives Matter Plaza, has been at odds with protesters demanding police reforms because she has rejected calls to defund the Metropolitan Police Department.