EXCLUSIVE: Lia Thomas’ Opponent Explains Her Support For Rand Paul, Details Experience Against Transgender Swimmer

[Screenshot/Rumble/Rand Paul]

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Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines exclusively spoke to the Daily Caller on Wednesday about their opposition to men competing in women’s sports.

The senator reached out to Gaines after seeing her on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and other national media outlets fighting for women’s sports to be reserved solely for female athletes. Gaines competed against University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, who defeated the female competitors by almost 1.75 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle event at the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Championships.

Gaines was then featured in a new advertisement for Paul. The Kentucky senator is running for a third term against Democratic challenger Charles Booker. In the ad, Gaines said Paul is determined to “fight for fairness for women and girls” in athletics.

“I saw Riley Gaines’ games featured on Tucker Carlson and on some other national media talking about, you know, defending women’s sports and keeping women’s sports, you know, for women exclusively for women,” Paul told the Caller. “And we were motivated by her courage to stand up. And so we endorsed Becky’s doing. We think we need more spokesmen — and particularly spokesmen who have been these elite athletes and compete at this level — to talk what it’s like to have to compete against men.” (RELATED: ‘Punch In The Gut’: Former NCAA Swimmer Decries Lia Thomas’ ‘Woman Of The Year’ Nomination)

“And so we saw that and we contacted — actually my wife contacted — Reilly, and we got to chatting and talking about doing an ad where she would endorse my candidacy. So we did that,” he continued.

Gaines told the Caller that she and Thomas tied in the 200-yard freestyle event, but the NCAA administrators at the event handed the trophy to her biological male competitor. She said she knew the NCAA “was totally trying to save face” by giving the award to Thomas rather than her.

She said she decided to support Paul because female athletes like herself have been waiting for a strong voice to stand up for them.

“So, I was going to align myself to Senator Paul because when faced with this issue, initially, us female athletes were waiting for someone to stick up for us, to stick up for the fact that we were competing against men, that we were changing in a locker room with a guy,” she said. “Whether that had been a coach or someone within a governing body, largely into some political power. But that’s not what we were seeing. And so upon time with Lia Thomas and really realizing the impact of what this had on myself and the other female athlete athletes, I decided to speak up. And when Mr. Paul reached out to me and told me that he was willing to stand up for us as well, I very easily decided that this is something I definitely want to align myself with.”

Paul warned that average college male athletes can switch to the women’s team and dominate the sport. He also criticized the “woke press” for cheering on Thomas, claiming that this coverage negatively impacts women athletes.

“I think in the public, you know, every day, women who are either independent voters or Democrat voters, but they have teenage daughters who competes and they just think it’s not fair. So I think on the issue of fairness, we’re ultimately going to win this. I think also, if we do nothing, there’s a possibility that you could get five male college swimmers or track stars to switch from college, having been average male athletes good enough to be on a college team, which is pretty good, but then switch over and be the national champions,” he told the Caller.

“What if you line up in a women’s swimming meet where the top five placers are men? I mean, it’s just ridiculous. And I think people know that putting someone on the cover of a magazine as Woman of the Year when they are a man, and I mean, goodness, the woke press is into this, but this is something with a really miscalculated … this is why, you know, half of Kentucky switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican,” he concluded.

In an interview with “Fox & Friends” early Wednesday, Gaines said that Thomas’ teammates at the University of Pennsylvania were told they should “seek counseling” if they were uncomfortable with changing in front of a male. The Kentucky senator, who joined the interview, called for lawmakers to protect “fairness” in women’s sports by making sure men do not compete against women.