A lauded teacher brought public discourse to a stunning low after praising the neighbor of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who seriously injured the senator in a 2017 attack—and calling for similar violence against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Rodney Robinson, a social studies and history teacher who was named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year and 2018 Teacher of the Year in his home state of Virginia, stated that Rene Boucher “did what a true Kentucky hero should do” when he suddenly and viciously attacked Paul, fracturing five ribs.
“Who are Mitch McConnell’s neighbors? I’m just saying Rand Paul’s neighbor did what a true Kentucky hero should do. It’s your turn to step up,” Robinson said in a now-deleted tweet.
No shortage of Twitter users found Robinson’s tweet disgusting, including Sen. Paul’s wife, Kelley.
“I am so disgusted by this I have no words,” said Mrs. Paul late last week. “The 2019 ‘National Teacher of The Year’ is celebrating the violent assault on my husband that resulted in 6 broken ribs and part of his lung being removed.”
“This hateful thug is calling for more violence on Sen McConnell,” she added, tagging Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
I am so disgusted by this I have no words. The 2019 “National Teacher Of The Year” is celebrating the violent assault on my husband that resulted in 6 broken ribs and part of his lung being removed. This hateful thug is calling for more violence on Sen McConnell. @jack https://t.co/JLraxwLaZD
— Kelley Paul (@KelleyAshbyPaul) December 31, 2020
Following the call for violence against Sen. McConnell, Robinson set his Twitter account to private, allowing only approved followers to view his past and present tweets.
According to BizPac Review, however, Robinson commented on the backlash, claiming that only fake “bot” accounts were upset about the tweet, which he claims was a joke, and that no one seemed bothered by it until he made a subsequent tweet about Black individuals in the medical field.
“I made a Mitch McConnell joke today and the conservative bots are real angry,” Robinson tweeted. “It’s funny because the joke was made early today and no one said a thing until I promoted black medical awareness.”
Countless real people—not bots—including Kelley Paul were incensed by Robinson’s words, which ultimately pushed him to offer an apology.
“Due to my ignorance of the situation, I didn’t know Rand Paul was seriously injured in the altercation,” Robinson wrote in a public statement on Medium, claiming that his original tweet was a “bad joke.”
“I apologize for making light of his injuries,” Robinson added. “I do not advocate for violence against Mitch McConnell.”
“I often preach to my students and other teachers that the mirror is the biggest tool for improvement,” Robinson went on. “You have to look into the mirror and ask yourself reflective questions and be honest with the answers. It’s time for me to look in the mirror and reflect on my recent actions.”
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