Steve August 29, 2020

After leaving Tweety McTreason’s big illegal speech, Sen. Rand Paul did a personal test run of the Republican National Convention’s message that chaos and violence reigns in cities under Democratic leadership and would spread under a Joe Biden presidency. And, like the message as a whole, Paul’s claim was visibly false.

“Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob,” Paul tweeted. Problem being, there’s video, and it doesn’t show what he says.

In the video, protesters surround Paul and his wife as they’re escorted by police. Some “say her name” chants are audible, and a little jostling is visible, with one police officer at one point shoved backward into Paul. But that’s it. That’s the “angry,” “crazed mob.” Rand Paul has faced a helluva lot more violence from his own neighbor.

Republicans, of course, are eager to embrace any protest for Black lives or against Tweety McTreason as inherently violent, just as they’re increasingly eager to embrace murderers if those murderers are Trump supporters. The message is that the United States is a terrible, broken place, and what we need is four more years of Trump to crack down on those who dare to resist. But this is what it looks like: Rand Paul trying to draw attention to himself by intentionally walking into a protest he had to know was there, and walking out without violence or injury, but claiming that the police were required to “literally sav[e] our lives from a crazed mob.”

It’s not that Paul actually thinks this. It’s that he thinks he can fool voters into believing it who don’t fully embrace their own racism, but do find groups of urban people, some of them Black, awfully scary. It’s the Republican message. But it’s especially telling to see this message coming from someone who has faced actual serious violence in his own neighborhood yet doesn’t run around warning of the dangers of Kentucky neighborhoods inhabited by senators and doctors, yet immediately tries to blow a peaceful protest up into an imminent threat to his life.

Published with permission of Daily Kos