Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday said he’s still recovering from a horrific attack that left him with a punctured lung and multiple fractured ribs last year.
The Kentucky senator described the November 2017 encounter with his neighbor in an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday, and disputed reports that his injuries stemmed from a “fight.”
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a fight. I was attacked from behind. I was wearing hearing protection and didn’t know it was coming,” Paul said. “I hadn’t spoken with him in a decade. It really wasn’t a sort of building, fuming thing where we had words. It was just sort of, I think he must have lost it, some kind of rage reaction.
“I was very sick. I had pneumonia twice. I had trouble breathing at night. I really struggled for weeks and weeks to recover from this,” he added.
The neighbor, 58-year-old Rene A. Boucher of Bowling Green, Kentucky, admitted to the assault, but denied accusations that it may have been politically motivated, according to court documents. Boucher was charged with assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury, a felony under federal law, according to the documents.
Paul did not reference the charges in his Wednesday interview, but said the dispute may have been connected to something much deeper.
“How could someone be so mad about grass clippings, you know?” he asked. “I think that sometimes we are channeling a lot of rage on both sides, politically and otherwise — grass clippings you name it. We are unhappy with each other.”
The senator, who also witnessed the 2017 shooting at a congressional softball game that left Rep. Steve Scalise in critical condition, said the assault was a horrible ending to a horrible year.
“I’ve been shot at. I’ve been mugged. I’m hoping 2018 is a better year,” he said. “People come up to me all the time and want to commiserate because it is pretty painful.
“I’ve been through a lot, but I’m on the mend.”