Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sustained five fractured ribs after he was assaulted by a neighbor at his Bowling Green home on Friday, a top adviser said Sunday — and it’s unclear when the senator will be able to return to Washington for work.
“Senator Paul has five rib fractures including three displaced fractures,” his chief political strategist, Doug Stafford, said in a statement Sunday. “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.”
Stafford added: “Senator Paul and Kelley appreciate everyone’s thoughts and well wishes and he will be back fighting for liberty in the Senate soon,” referring to the senator’s wife.
Authorities say Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled the senator from behind at 3:21 p.m. on Friday, leaving Paul struggling to breathe and bleeding from cuts around his mouth. Boucher, 59, has been charged with one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor that can carry up to one year in prison.
Officials have not disclosed a reason for Friday’s altercation. A spokeswoman for Paul said on Saturday that that the senator had been “blindsided.”
In his statement Sunday, Stafford noted that the type of injury Paul sustained could have more serious health ramifications.
“Displaced rib fractures can lead to life-threatening injuries such as: hemopneumothorax, pneumothorax, pneumonia, internal bleeding, laceration of internal organs and lung contusions. Senator Paul does have lung contusions currently,” Stafford said. “This type of injury is also accompanied by severe pain that can last weeks to months.”
A prolonged absence by Paul could also complicate matters for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the broader Senate GOP’s legislative agenda. Republicans control just 52 votes in the chamber, and absences can thwart the leadership from obtaining the simply majority needed to confirm nominees and pass some legislation.