Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reportedly joked on Friday about the assault on Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., by his neighbor, saying it shows ‘he can be beaten’.
Associated Press reporter Adam Beam tweeted that Democrat Grimes made the remark at a local Fancy Farm Picnic in Kentucky on Friday, which Kentucky political candidates often use as the kickoff for election campaigns. Grimes is considering running for governor in 2019.
“Alison Lundergan Grimes on Rand Paul: ‘Just ask his neighbor. He can be beaten.’” Beam tweeted.
Grimes’ remark sparked a response from Paul's chief strategist Doug Stafford, who made a reference to Grimes’ failed 2014 Senate run, where she attempted to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.“That’s almost as sad and pathetic as her last campaign,” he said. “Mitch beat her so bad he almost got charged with a hate crime.”
While McConnell was planning on attending the event, Paul was not at the event, and is gearing up for a trip to Russia on Monday. A spokesman told The Washington Post that the trip is aimed at “supporting President Donald Trump engaging around the world.”
But Grimes reportedly joked that Paul is instead “looking for a campaign manager.”
Paul’s neighbor was convicted in June of attacking the senator outside his home and was sentenced to 30 days in prison. The attack left Paul with six broken ribs and his recovery was complicated by fluid and blood around the lungs and recurrent pneumonia.
The senator told police that the incident occurred when his “neighbor came onto his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground and causing pain.”
The neighbor, Rene Boucher, said he tackled Paul over piles of brush on Paul’s property. Boucher claimed that Paul used his lawn mower, blowing leaves onto his property.
The spat comes amid a growing controversy between Democrats and Republicans about inflammatory rhetoric. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., came under fire for suggesting Trump officials be hounded out of public spaces. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, this week said that he had cried "tears of rage" over rhetoric from the Trump administration.
Fox News' Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.