Facing an increasingly polarized political climate, the wife of Senator Rand Paul says she sleeps with a loaded gun as a precaution against “unhinged” people being goaded by Democrats into harassing Republican lawmakers.
The Paul household used to keep its doors unlocked, but now feels “under assault” by self-described activists who resort to intimidation, harassment and even physical violence, Kelley Paul told Breitbart News.
“It’s bizarre. I’ve never been like this in my whole life… We used to never even lock our doors, and now that has all changed,” she said.
“We’ve updated all of our security systems at home. I sleep with a loaded gun by my bed.”
Kelley also expressed deep concern about lawmakers who have encouraged their constituents to confront Republican politicians.
“Words do matter, and there are so many, quite frankly, unhinged [and] unstable people out there, and when they hear someone on their side telling them, ‘Get up in their face,’ they take that literally, and they think that gives them a license to be very aggressive, be harassing, throw people out of restaurants, and I don’t think anybody wants to live in a country like that,” Kelley said.
Last week, CNN published an op-ed penned by Paul in which she singled out New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker for urging his supporters to “get up in the face of congresspeople.”
Noting that her husband was recently targeted by activists who blocked his path and “screamed vitriol” at him, Kelley asked: “Is this the way to express concern or enact change? Or does it only incite unstable people to violence, making them feel that assaulting a person is somehow politically justifiable?”
The confrontational tactic was widely used by liberal activists in the run-up to Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation to the Supreme Court.
And she has good reason to be concerned. Last November, a man attacked her husband while he was working in their yard, breaking six of his ribs and leaving the senator with lung damage and other health problems.
The attack later became a running joke among liberal commentators, but Paul told Breitbart that there was nothing funny about it.
“Because of the violence that Rand has experienced in the last year, it does scare me that there is going to be somebody that is really unstable that takes that message a step further and that something terrible happens to someone in this toxic and highly polarized environment.”
Sen. Paul was also present at an incident last year in which a man opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers playing baseball in Alexandria, Virginia. One congressman was wounded in the bizarre incident.
The “get in their face” tactic that Kelley warned against was also endorsed by Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who told a group of supporters in June that they should take action if they see a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet in the street or in a store.
“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere,” she told a cheering crowd in Los Angeles.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch later accused Waters of inciting “mob violence,” and called on the House to investigate her on ethics grounds.
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