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GOP leaders speak out following ambush of ex-Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines: 'Shameful behavior'

Gaines said she was 'ambushed and physically hit' following an event at San Francisco State University

By Paulina Dedaj, Kyle Morris | Fox News
GOP leaders are calling for those involved in the ambush of decorated former NCAA Division 1 swimmer Riley Gaines to be "held accountable," after the 12-time All American collegiate athlete said she was physically attacked following a speaking engagement at San Francisco State University on Thursday night. 

Gaines, a former swimmer at Kentucky University who has been an advocate for women’s rights amid an ongoing debate surrounding transgender athlete participation, posted a video to social media showing a group of protesters surrounding her after delivering a speech at a Turning Point USA and Leadership Institute event that took place on San Francisco State’s campus.

She said in a tweet that she was "ambushed and physically hit twice by a man," and was eventually escorted out by law enforcement. 

Republican leaders have since condemned the incident and called for those involved to be held accountable. 

"San Francisco State University and law enforcement must take immediate action to hold those who assaulted Riley accountable," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Fox News Digital Friday. "We will not allow the violent radical left mob to silence us."

"This is truly shameful behavior," Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., added on Twitter. "Riley Gaines has done nothing more than speak out about the dangers of allowing biological men to compete in women's sports, and is met with violence. Unacceptable." 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa also backed Gaines in a statement to Fox News Digital.

"I stand with Riley and her message: biological men should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports," she said. 

"Our female athletes deserve fairness, safety, and the ability to win top scholarships and titles. No amount of violence and harassment from the radical Left will stop strong women like Riley from standing up for the truth and what is right."

Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., called out the "radical mob rule" and instead encouraged "civil debate" in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

"I stand with Riley Gaines. Women’s sports are under attack by the far left, and Riley should be applauded for defending the rights of girls and young women across America to compete fairly and safely. Political violence has no place in the United States. Those responsible must be held accountable. Our country should encourage civil debate and discourse, not tolerate radical mob rule that seeks to silence political opposition."

Gaines’ husband, Louis Barker, told Fox News Digital that she was left barricaded in a room for nearly three hours and was hit "multiple times by a guy in dress."

No arrests were made by law enforcement following the alleged assault. 

The University Police Department (UPD) at San Francisco State University issued the following statement to Fox Friday morning: "We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the situation. There were no arrests related to the event. The disruption occurred after the conclusion of the event which made it necessary for UPD officers to move the event speaker from the room to a different, safe location."

The incident involving Gaines followed a Supreme Court’s decision to allow a 12-year-old transgender girl in West Virginia to continue competing on her middle school’s girls sports teams while a lawsuit over a state ban continues.