With much of Congress gone from Washington, D.C. for the August recess, many members are traveling the country, touring their home districts in preparation for a re-election campaign, or simply relaxing with family and friends.
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, however, will be spending at least a portion of the summer break in a hospital as he recovers from lung surgery to deal with lingering issues stemming from a brutal assault he suffered in 2017.
Sen. Paul announced the surgery in a post to Twitter on Monday saying that he anticipated returning to work on Capitol Hill in September following the conclusion of the August recess.
“Unfortunately, I will have to limit my August activities. Part of my lung damaged by the 2017 assault had to be removed by surgery this weekend,” Paul tweeted.
“The doctors, nurses, & staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were great. I should be able to return to the Senate in September,” he added.
The 2017 assault incident referenced by Sen. Paul involved him being tackled from behind by a neighbor named Rene Boucher. That incident resulted in six broken ribs and three displaced fractures for Paul, as well as a build-up of blood and fluid around his lungs and pneumonia that served to complicate and prolong his recovery.
Boucher was ultimately charged and pleaded guilty to a federal count of assaulting a member of Congress.
However, despite the severity of the charge and injuries Paul sustained in the assault, Boucher was only sentenced to 30 days of incarceration, one year of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine, He was also orderd to have no further contact with the Paul family.
The assailant, a retired anesthesiologist, did ultimately pay a civil price for the assault, however, as a Kentucky jury in January awarded Paul more than $580,000 in damages over the incident. That total included $375,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 for pain and suffering, and $7,834 in medical expenses.
As for the reason behind the assault, Boucher claimed that it stemmed from longstanding disagreements between the two men over the manner in which Paul mowed and otherwise took care of his lawn and property. Paul disputed that account, however, and given Paul’s position as a Republican senator and Boucher’s left-leaning political affiliations and beliefs, it has been widely assumed the assault was motivated by partisan disagreements.
Senators on the sidelines
Interestingly, Paul will be joined in recovery over the month of August by a fellow Kentuckian, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who tripped and fell at his Kentucky home on Sunday and suffered a fractured shoulder.
Hopefully, both senators are able to quickly recover from their medical ailments and will be able to return to work once Congress resumes normal activities in September.