In his speech to the Republican National Convention Thursday night, President Trump said if you want the rest of the country to look like Portland, Ore., put the Democrats fully in charge and that’s what you’ll get.
That’s hard to argue with considering what we are seeing in many of our cities, where well-intentioned protest marches long ago were hijacked into lawless and violent destructive anarchy, often led by outside agitators and violent Marxists.
I experienced some of this in Washington after the president’s speech.
My wife Kelley and I were attempting to leave the White House event. We were staying at a hotel directly across the street, maybe 50 yards from the gates of the White House. But as we went to leave, it became apparent there was no safe exit out the gates and through the unruly mob that had gathered there.
Why? Because another Democratic-run city had decided it would bow to lawless rioters instead of protecting its citizens. Mayor Muriel Bowser was asked by the Secret Service to allow wider and better protection for those leaving the White House Thursday night, but she refused.
Mayor Bowser and many others are responsible for what happened. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called my Senate colleagues and me “enemies of the state.” Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris has advocated paying bail to get violent rioters out of jail.
Three Democratic House members who are part of the socialist “Squad” have called for people to “take to the streets.”
Well, national Democrats, your people are listening to you. How does it feel to watch it happen? Are you comfortable watching the mob go after my wife and me?
When we realized we couldn’t go the way we planned, we boarded a bus with others and went to the Trump International Hotel. It took us 45 minutes to get there and we waited there a while longer, figuring the crowd would settle down or leave.
As our Uber approached our hotel we ran into roadblocks two blocks out, preventing us from driving all the way. So we got out and walked.
That’s when the mob saw us.
Thankfully, a friendly observer named Jack Murphy had been out all night directing people to safety and taking videos of the mobs.
Murphy directed police toward us and we found a couple of policemen on the corner, just as a chanting mob came at us.
The crowd multiplied fast. One of them yelled: “We’ve got Rand Paul trapped!”
First, there were a handful of people — then 30, then 60, then over 100 screaming and out-of-control lunatics.
I leaned in close to the police officer in charge, who I don’t think recognized me, and said: “They’ve recognized me. I’m in Congress. We’re going to need reinforcements.”
The head officer spoke into a headset as the crowd hurled invective and pressed their menacing bodies against us.
Reinforcements were slow to come. I suggested to the lead officer that the mob’s anger was rising in pitch and venom, and that we couldn’t hold out much longer.
He agreed to try to get to us to our hotel, and two or three police officers joined us. The officers formed a human barricade, putting their bodies and bikes between us and the mob.
The mob continued shouting awful death threats. Curses. Shoving. One person in the mob violently slammed into a policeman just behind me. I turned to see the officer losing his balance. I grabbed the lower edge of his bulletproof vest to stabilize him. I yelled into his ear. “I’ve got your back!”
I noticed that my mouth was completely dry. “Cottonmouth” is what we called it when we were kids. I look at Kelley. Both of us realized we might not make it to our hotel.
But slowly the D.C. police were able to force our way through the throng.
My thanks to the police, who bravely handled a terrible situation. Both Kelley and I believe that without the courage of the police we would have been pushed to the ground and kicked and pummeled, as so many others have been.
Mob violence is never justified. Ever. But in this case, it doesn’t even make sense regarding what they were protesting. In between death-and-violence threats, protesters screamed “say her name” at us, in reference to the Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in my home state of Kentucky.
That’s off-base, because almost no one has said Breonna Taylor’s name as often or sincerely as I have. In fact, after speaking with Breonna’s family I authored the “Justice for Breonna Taylor Act” to end no-knock warrants like the one police used before they shot her in her own apartment in March.
I’ve authored or co-sponsored over 20 criminal justice reform bills, and I did it well before it was an acceptable thing to do in my party.
The cause of reform has no greater GOP ally than me, and yet know-nothing mobs angrily chanted and attacked me and my wife.
After we got back to our hotel room and some safety we heard something frightening. The “protesters” were staying on our floor— including the room next door to us. They were talking about their mob activities and even saying they thought we were here on this floor. We had to develop a 3 a.m. plan with the Capitol Police to get to safety.
My question is: Who are these people? Who paid for their hotel rooms? Who flew them in? Law enforcement needs to look at the funding of violent criminal activity like this.
And national Democrats need to confront it. It’s organized. It’s paid for. It’s violent. It’s not about Black lives or any lives; it’s about anarchy and destruction. The American people are starting to catch on and grow tired of it.
So I ask Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris this:
Will you stand up finally and denounce this violence and destruction? Will you quit inciting it and urge other leaders to do the same?
My wife and I await your answers.