The Attack on Paul Pelosi: Political and Traumatizing


Photo Credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images & Kevin Wolf/AP

On October 28, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked in his home. When police arrived, the attacker, who had broken in through a glass door, was fighting with Mr. Pelosi for control of a hammer. When they instructed the men to drop the hammer, the attacker took the opportunity to hit Mr. Pelosi in the head.
The attacker has been identified as 42-year-old David DePape. He broke into the Pelosi’s home with the intention of holding Nancy Pelosi hostage: according to a complaint detailing DePape’s interrogation with investigators as cited in an article by the Associated Press, “If she were to tell DePape the ‘truth’, he would let her go and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break her kneecaps.” He had zip ties, tape, and rope with him during his attack to execute this plan. He allegedly came into the house in the early hours of the morning demanding to talk to “Nancy”, and after Paul Pelosi told DePape that his wife wasn’t home, DePape claimed that he would wait for her to arrive.
It has been concluded that the attack was likely “politically motivated”, to quote San Francisco’s District Attorney Brooke Jenkins as referenced by BBC News. Following the attack, it has been found that David DePape ran a series of blog posts and a Facebook that openly supported far-right conspiracy theories, such as the claim of the 2020 election results being untrue, as well as racist and anti-semitic ideas. Additionally, when interrogated by investigators, DePape claimed that Nancy Pelosi was the “leader of the pack of lies told by the Democratic Party,” as cited in an article by the Associated Press.
Though there have been many conspiracy theories and rumors circulating across various social media platforms, Paul Pelosi told the police that he had never seen DePape before, and as mentioned by the Associated Press, San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins further defended that “We have nothing to suggest that these two men knew each other prior to this incident.”
David DePape has since been named with numerous state charges, such as attempted murder, as well as federal charges such as “influencing, impeding or retaliating against a federal official by threatening or injuring a family member” according to the Associated Press.
Nancy Pelosi also expressed gratitude for the support her family is receiving. “Please know that the outpouring of prayers and warm wishes from so many in the Congress is a comfort to our family and is helping Paul make progress with his recovery,” she stated in a letter to Congress as cited in an article by Fox News.
However, not all are responding with support. Some far-right figures have been joking about the event, such as Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, who joked about the security on Pelosi’s home during one of her campaign events. Donald Trump Jr, the son of the former president, also made “crude jokes” on his Twitter, according to the Associated Press. Still, it is important to note that the issue of violence against political figures is one that is impacting both Republicans and Democrats. For example, Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh had a similar experience last summer when “a man carrying a gun, a knife and zip ties was arrested near [his] house… after threatening to kill him”.
Mr. Pelosi has received surgery to repair the damage done by the hammer to his skull as well as treatment for other injuries, and he is “making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process,” according to a quote by Nancy Pelosi cited by the Associated Press.