Did a Marco Rubio staffer really punch a Rand Paul aide in the face at a bar during last weekend’s biennial GOP Leadership Conference in Mackinac, Michigan? If so, as alleged by the victim and witnesses, that wouldn’t be surprising. After all, isn’t that how GOP leadership works? If you don’t agree with someone, just punch them in the face.
Fox 17‘s Josh Sidorowicz reports that usually, not much news comes out on Friday, the eve of the GOP Leadership Conference, because people are still arriving. But in the wee hours of Friday morning, Rubio’s Deputy Campaign Manager Rich Beeson got caught on camera shoving Paul’s Chief Strategist John Yob around at Horn’s Gaslight Bar and Restaurant.
Furthermore, Yob insists Beeson punched him in the face and posted on Facebook:
A Facebook user then commented that this isn’t the first time a Rubio staffer has gotten in trouble for violence (back in 2012, Rubio’s regional director was arrested and charged with misdemeanor-level battery, but the charges were later dropped).
And although the video footage is too dark and grainy to see how hard Yob got hit, it still clearly shows Beeson throwing a punch, Brandon Hall says he saw the whole thing. In his blog, West Michigan Politics, Hall said the incident went down just as Yob described, and Beeson appeared to act with no provocation.
As I was sitting at the bar talking to someone at Horn’s in Mackinac Island Thursday night, I witnessed Beeson suddenly, out of nowhere, approach one of Rand Paul’s advisers, John Yob-unprovoked-and try to hit him. Beeson missed a full on shot but still struck Yob’s in the face with a powerful blow near the jaw.
“GOP Leadership” thinks face punching’s freaking hilarious.
Oh and guess what? As word got out about the incident with Beeson and Yob, folks at the GOP Leadership Conference seemed to think the whole thing was freaking hilarious.
When Yob first contacted Beeson’s boss Terry Sullivan by email, he thought it was all a joke and replied:
“Well that if you were talking sh** I’m glad he did. Besides. We need more space and wanna take over your townhouse when Rand is done.”
Sullivan later sent a not-apology:
“I assumed you were kidding when you sent that last night. Guess I was wrong.”
When Fox 17 asked a so-called “friend” of Yob’s what they thought, he chortled:
“I’ve known John since college, and you know, I guess maybe duck.”
With friends like that, who needs enemies? Then again, that’s what you get when you hang with the “GOP leadership.”
Politico adds that even the local police chief seemed to take the GOP Leadership Conference fracas lightly. Apparently, conservatives have a higher threshold for what counts as “assault” than we liberals do.
“There was a complaint made of an alleged assault,” said Mackinac Island police Chief Brett Riccinto, who said he’s still waiting to receive video of the incident. “Until then I don’t want to make a statement.” The complaint, he added, would be forwarded to a local prosecutor.
At the time of this writing, charges had not been filed against Beeson.