Kentucky Politics

Conservative consultant and writer Kelley Paul stumped for her husband, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, at an event at a Louisville country club on Thursday.

Speaking to the Women’s Republican Club of Louisville, Kelley Paul echoed her husband’s critiques of pandemic lockdown orders, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and news outlets’ coverage of the neighbor who attacked the junior senator in 2017, breaking several ribs.

Kelley Paul said over the last year, reporters unfairly covered Rand Paul’s questioning of Fauci and Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.

“It’s important to question. From the beginning, that is all that Rand has asked to do, is to be skeptical of what we’re being told by government experts,” Kelley Paul said.

Rand Paul has clashed several times with Fauci in senate committee hearings and TV interviews on issues ranging from whether people who recovered from a coronavirus infection need to wear masks or be vaccinated (Paul says they don’t) to accusations that Fauci helped a Chinese laboratory engineer the coronavirus.

During the event, Kelley Paul said her husband is “polite” and trying to “ask questions about what are the limits of government power.”

She also accused government officials who ordered business closures during the pandemic of destroying the economy and creating a spike in drug overdoses.

“They say all of this was because of the pandemic. But no, it was the government’s unconstitutional overreach and the lockdowns that destroyed an economy,” Paul said.

“COVID really emboldened the authoritarian streak and the petty tyrants in our government, many of them governors like our own Gov. Beshear.”

First elected in 2010, Rand Paul is running for a third six-year term next year. Paul was easily reelected in 2016, defeating then-Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a Democrat, by about 15 percentage points. He also ran for U.S. President that year, but bowed out of the race early in the state primary elections.

With about a year and a half until the election, Paul has one notable opponent in the race so far—former Democratic state Rep. Charles Booker. Booker narrowly lost the Democratic nomination in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race last year to retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

Paul was violently tackled by a neighbor in 2017, breaking several ribs and puncturing a lung.

Kelley Paul said news outlets didn’t take the attack seriously, characterizing it as a “dispute.”

“They frame it that way in order to downplay violence against conservatives, to ignore violence against conservatives,” Kelley Paul said.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.