SOMERSET, Ky. (LEX 18) — Sen. Rand Paul didn't waste any time before he criticized coronavirus restrictions while speaking at the Somerset Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce's lunch on Tuesday.
"There’s really exciting news out of Washington - and you may have not heard this - coming up on July 4th, three people can get together inside without a mask if they’ve been vaccinated," said Paul as he spoke before a seated, mostly mask-less crowd of about 100 people. "Do you think we should send President Biden a picture of our lunch today?"
Paul has been a vocal critic of Gov. Andy Beshear throughout the pandemic. On April 30, he called Gov. Beshear "drunk with power" on Twitter.
FL is open. TX is open. TN - mandates repealed. Even NEW YORK has set a firm date to fully reopen (not soon enough)— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 30, 2021
But still not Kentucky, because of drunk with power @AndyBeshearKY
Beshear has recently faced pushback on his goal of 2.5 million people vaccinated to lift most of Kentucky's coronavirus restrictions. Some other states have set target dates for re-opening instead.
On Monday, Beshear stood by his 2.5 million goal.
"Setting a random date doesn’t make our people safe, lots of people getting vaccinated makes them safe," said Beshear.
Paul says he wants Kentuckians to be able to do what they want now.
"When [Beshear] says this, it’s not the actual number I disagree with. It’s that he’s opening his mouth at all to issue edicts when the state legislature has said you need to do it in conjunction with the state legislature," said Paul. "All the power is not centralized in one person."
"In a free society, each individual has to make that decision. So, if you’re 85 years old and haven’t been vaccinated yet, I’d still say you probably shouldn’t sit in a church," said Paul. "If you’re [young] and you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I don’t care if you’re in a church or not, from a physician's point of view."
Currently, the governor's emergency powers are a topic tied up in court. After Kentucky's legislature passed bills limiting the governor's powers, Beshear sued. The issue will soon be argued before the state's Supreme Court.
Paul called it the most important case in Kentucky and said he would be upset if the court sided with the governor.
"I can’t imagine that they will. I think [Beshear's] argument is so far out of the mainstream - that the legislature can’t limit powers they gave him," said Paul. "They gave him the powers in the 1990s. They’re simply limiting the powers they gave him - if they can’t do that, it gets rid of one of the fundamental checks and balances and I will be very, very disappointed."