Senator Rand Paul will spend the next several days in the hospital, recovering from injuries he received in a politically-motivated attack Friday, and may face an “extended absence” from the Senate.
Paul’s chief political strategist, Doug Stafford, told The Wall Street Journal Monday that the senator’s injuries are far more severe than initially thought. Paul has five broken ribs, three of which are displaced and could require surgery. The senator is also suffering from bruises on his lungs. Paul’s staff did not say whether all of the injuries are to one lung, or to both.
It’s not clear when the senator will be able to return to work in Congress. Lung contusions don’t necessarily sound serious, but these kinds of injuries could lead to respiratory ailments, internal bleeding, or damage to other internal organs if not treated properly.
What is clear is that the senator suffered a more severe attack than the one initially reported. According to Stafford, “This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying.”
Rene Boucher, one of Paul’s Bowling Green, Kentucky, neighbors, allegedly assaulted the senator while Paul was mowing his lawn on Friday. Paul, who was wearing headphones, had dismounted his riding mower to pick something up off the ground when Boucher attacked.
Boucher is being held by Bowling Green authorities on charges of fourth degree assault.
Neighbors — and the FBI — believe that Boucher’s attack was politically motivated. Boucher was, reportedly, an “avowed socialist” who frequently got into heated political arguments with community members. Boucher’s Facebook account contained “numerous anti-Trump postings,” according to the Daily Caller, including one particularly subtle post from May that read, “May Robert Mueller fry Trump’s gonads.”
“He was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda,” said one of the other neighbors who lives in the same gated community as both Boucher and Paul. “I think it was unfortunate that they lived so close together.”
Paul has not spoken about the attack except to tweet that he and his wife, Kelly, “appreciate the overwhelming support after Friday’s unfortunate event. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.”