Republican Rep. Brian Mast is speaking out after protesters confronted him following Thursday night’s Republican National Convention (RNC).
Video from the Daily Caller’s Phillip Nieto shows Mast walking outside late Thursday when a man begins questioning him about whether he attended the RNC.
“I sure did. It was a great time,” Mast said.
“What do you make of all these protests?” the man asks.
“Everybody has the right to protest,” Mast replied. “That’s a beautiful thing.”
The unnamed individual then asks, “You’re not afraid for your safety?”
“No,” Mast replied. “Should I be?”
It’s unclear whether the man meant the question to be a threat. The rest of the interactions, while tense, did not include any direct threats of violence.
Elsewhere in the area, Sen. Rand Paul said he worried his life was in danger after he said protesters threatened him.
Back to the Mast confrontation, a blonde woman eventually stepped up to Mast and asks him, “What do you think about police killing Black people in this country?”
“I don’t think anybody should get killed wrongfully,” Mast replied.
Angered Mast did not specifically mention Black people in his answer, the protester tries again as a crowd of a few dozen people, including some journalists, approaches Mast.
“Answer the question,” she said, unsatisfied with Mast’s existing answer. “How do you feel about police killing Black people in this country? In this city?”
Mast tries to reword his answer, “Anybody’s right to due process is robbed…”
The protester cuts him off again, shouting her question and repeating it more slowly. The two go back and forth as another protester remarks of Mast’s answer, “That’s that ‘All Lives Matter’ [stuff].”
When asked again by a different protester specifically how he would feel if police unjustifiably killed a Black person, Mast replied, “That would be wrong.”
The crowd continued to pepper Mast with additional questions before he eventually advanced through the crowd. It’s unclear from video precisely what answers the protesters were looking for from the Congressman.
Mast was one of several Floridians to attend President Donald Trump‘s ethically questionable speech Thursday night. Commenting on the exchange with protesters, Mast wrote, “They thought I would be an easy target because my prosthetics move slowly. They were wrong.”
Mast lost both his legs in a 2010 IED explosion while serving in the Army.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas described the exchange by writing, “War hero swarmed by the mob. Madness must stop.”
Added Rep. Matt Gaetz, “Brian Mast disarmed bombs. None of these people scare him one bit.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee is now attempting to fundraise off the exchange, labeling the protesters who questioned Mast as “cowards.”
Mast is also looking to raise money off the exchange, calling out his Democratic opponent Pam Keith over controversial comments she made in June.
In that Twitter post, Keith asked whether it was “open season” on political rivals she deems “bad guy(s).” Keith was questioning logic used by some conservatives after George Floyd‘s killing. Some conservative commentators referenced Floyd’s criminal past in discussing his death, seemingly implying his criminal past justified his killing, or at least made it less appalling.
“GOP: Yeah he’s dead. But it’s not a big deal because he was a ‘bad guy,’” Keith wrote.
“Is that REALLY the new rule they want? Killing is OK if it’s a ‘bad guy?’ Is it now open season on: [Michael] Flynn, [Paul] Manafort, [Roger] Stone, [Rick] Gates, [Michael] Cohen, TRUMP, [Bill] Barr, [Brett] Kavanaugh, [Corey] Lewandowski, [John] Bolton, [Mike] Pompeo, [George] Papadopolous, [Brad] Parscale[?]”
Keith did not name Mast in that post, but the congressman referenced the tweet Friday morning following the confrontation. “If this angers you, don’t stoop to their level, VOTE!” Mast wrote, before linking to a fundraising page.
Mast has faced his own social media controversy in recent days after the South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered old Facebook posts where Mast joked about sex with 15-year-olds and rape. Mast apologized for those posts, from 2009 and 2011, respectively. At least one Palm Beach County lawmaker has called for him to resign.