The Slatest

Rand Paul Blames Baltimore Riots on “Lack of Fathers”

Rand Paul at an April 25 event in Iowa.

Scott Olson/Getty

In 2014, Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul criticized the behavior of police officers during protests in Ferguson, Missouri. He’s discussed racial injustice and sentencing reform in a manner that’s fairly rare for a Republican candidate and believes his campaign could appeal to black voters. Per the liberal Talking Points Memo site’s report on a Paul interview with radio host Laura Ingraham, though, it appears that his take on developments in Baltimore comes from the old-fashioned “family values” Republican playbook:

Railing against what he repeatedly called “thuggery and thievery” in the streets of Baltimore, Paul told Ingraham that talking about “root causes” was not appropriate in the middle of a riot … “There are so many things we can talk about,” the senator said, “the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of a moral code in our society.”

“I came through the train on Baltimore [sic] last night, I’m glad the train didn’t stop,” Paul said.

In addition to zagging away from his previous rhetoric on racial and criminal justice issues, Paul’s pedantic comments on the role of fatherhood in preventing criminal behavior seem oddly timed in light of recent news involving his 22-year-old son William, who was cited April 19 for DUI after allegedly hitting a parked car in Lexington, Kentucky. The younger Paul was also arrested in 2013 on a number of intoxication-related charges including the simple assaut of a flight attendant. Those charges were dismissed as part of a deferred prosecution program.