MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Thursday accused Republican Sen. Rand Paul of inspiring supporters of President Trump to commit acts of violence by alleging the recent White House race was “stolen.”
Mr. Scarborough, a former Republican congressman for Florida, slammed Mr. Paul on his “Morning Joe” show while reacting to remarks the senator made Wednesday during a hearing on the presidential election.
Speaking at a Senate Homeland Security hearing, Mr. Paul alleged “fraud happened” in the election and that it “was in many ways stolen” from Mr. Trump, the Republican incumbent and the race’s decisive loser.
Mr. Scarborough angrily responded in a monologue the next morning by saying the senator was outright lying by alleging the election was rigged and warned his remarks may have serious repercussions.
“What does he get out of being a liar?” Mr. Scarborough asked. “He’s used his position as a senator to lie repeatedly this year. He’s used his position as a senator to lie about a ‘stolen election.’”
Mr. Scarborough later accused the Kentucky senator of effectively provoking the Proud Boys, a group whose members he accused of violence while participating in protests held by Trump supporters opposing his loss.
“Why are you purposely inspiring people like the Proud Boys to go around and yell ‘Stop the Steal!’ and beating the hell out of people in the streets? Rand, why are you doing that?” Mr. Scarborough asked.
“I don’t get it, what’s in it for you, Rand. To be a liar. To your people. To your constituents!” Mr. Scarborough said. “Why do you want to spread violence across America by spreading this lie? Why do you want to undermine American democracy? Why do you want to undermine faith in our system, Rand?”
Doug Stafford, Mr. Paul’s chief strategist, told The Washington Times later Thursday that it was “unfortunate and really quite disgusting” that Mr. Scarborough accused the senator of inspiring violence.
In a statement, Mr. Stafford added Mr. Paul, a member of the Republican congressional baseball team that was targeted by a shooter in 2017, has been personally subjected to violent left-wing partisans.
“I don’t know why simply seeking electoral justice is somehow a crime now according to left-wing media, who turned a blind eye to real violence the past year,” Mr. Stafford told The Times.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden won the White House race and is accordingly set to be sworn in on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. Mr. Trump has not conceded, however, despite a series of recent legal defeats virtually ensuring his administration ends imminently.
Leaders of federal law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies have said they have found no evidence of any widespread fraud occurring in the presidential election that would result in a different outcome.
Nonetheless, Trump supporters including members of the Proud Boys protested his loss Saturday in Washington, D.C., which were largely peaceful but culminated in violent clashes and the caught-on-camera removal and destruction of “Black Lives Manner” signs from local churches that caused Democratic leadership to speak out afterward.
“These Proud Boys are avowed white nationalists and have been called to stand up against a fair and legal election,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said Monday. “This is a symptom of the hateful rhetoric, anti-science noise and people who refuse to accept the result of a fair American election.”
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