Husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in hospital with skull fracture after attack
Paul Pelosi, husband of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, was hospitalized with a skull fracture on Friday after he was attacked at the couple’s home in California with a hammer by an assailant who was reported to have shouted “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”
Paul Pelosi, 82, underwent “successful surgery” to repair a skull fracture and other “serious injuries” sustained during the assault and is expected to make a full recovery”, according to Nancy Pelosi’s longtime spokesperson, Drew Hammill.
FBI agents work outside the home of US speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after her husband Paul Pelosi was attacked by suspect David DePape.
“Earlier this morning, Paul Pelosi was attacked at home by an assailant who acted with force, and threatened his life while demanding to see the speaker,” Hammill said in a statement on Friday afternoon.
San Francisco police said that Paul Pelosi managed to call 911, but didn’t directly report what was happening, but that a dispatcher sent officers to follow up with a “wellbeing check” at about 2.27am local time on Friday morning. They found an adult male confronting Paul Pelosi, and a hammer was being grasped by both men.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody,” said Bill Scott, chief of the San Francisco police department.
Scott named the suspect as David DePape, 42, and said he broke in through a back door. Charges are to be brought at the San Francisco county jail, including attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and other felonies. DePape remained in the hospital on Friday evening, but the chief did not disclose his condition.
Scott said police were still investigating the motive, but said: “This was not a random act, this was intentional.”
It was reported by CNN that the suspect intended to tie the victim up “until Nancy got home” and that he had posted rightwing and conspiracy theories online, including content promoting the lie that Donald Trump was deprived of victory in the 2020 election because of voter fraud.
In a statement to CNN, an acquaintance of DePape’s said he appeared to be “out of touch with reality”. Two of the suspect’s relatives also told the network that DePape, who grew up in British Columbia, Canada, was estranged from his family.
In addition to multiple conspiracy posts on his Facebook account, which was reviewed by CNN and later taken down by Meta on Friday, DePape is also believed to have managed a blog to which he regularly posted screeds concerning the “ruling class”.
The blog, which the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed and was later taken down, had a banner that said “Welcome to Big Brothers Censorship Hell”, along with numerous conspiracy posts about the government, media outlets and tech companies.
President Joe Biden called the attack on Paul Pelosi “despicable” and denounced people who spread lies about stolen elections for corroding the political climate and contributing to politically motivated violence.
“Enough is enough is enough,” Biden told supporters at a Democratic party fundraiser in Philadelphia on Friday. “Every person of good conscience needs to clearly and unambiguously stand up against the violence in our politics, regardless of what your politics are.
“Democracy is literally, not figuratively, on the ballot this year,” said Biden, who warned about the dangers of extremism in an impassioned speech in Philadelphia last month.
The president said reports indicated the attack on Paul Pelosi was aimed at Nancy Pelosi and noted that the suspected assailant used the same chant – “Where’s Nancy?” – heard from supporters of former president Donald Trump when they stormed the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.
Biden said it was not surprising that one party’s repeated lies about stolen elections could affect “people who may not be so well-balanced”.
According to the Associated Press, the attacker had specifically targeted the Pelosi family home. Video footage of the house showed glass shattered in a side entrance, indicating where the break-in may have occurred.
A person briefed on the situation told AP that the intruder had confronted Paul Pelosi while demanding to know where his wife was.
The speaker, who is second in line to succeed the president, was not at home at the time of the attack, but was in Washington DC with security protection that accompanies her at all times as standard.
Her husband suffered blunt force trauma to the head and body in the attack. He was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco general hospital for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries to his right arm and hands. Nancy Pelosi returned to San Francisco to be with her husband and reportedly arrived at the hospital on Friday afternoon.
While the exact motivation for the attack was unclear on Friday morning, it raised fears about the safety of members of Congress and their families.
Concerns have been rising, particularly since the insurrection by extremist supporters of Donald Trump intent on overturning his loss to Joe Biden, about a new era of violent threats against US lawmakers and their families, staff. Recently released footage showed how Nancy Pelosi took charge during the riot while she and other officials were sheltering from the violence. One man who had grabbed the speaker’s podium during the insurrection has since been sentenced to prison.
In July, members of Congress were given $10,000 each to upgrade security at their homes in the face of rising threats. Some have pushed for even more protection, pointing to people turning up at their homes and an increasing amount of threatening communications.
Political leaders of both parties denounced attack, which occurred in the closing days of a fiercely-contested midterm election.
Biden called Nancy Pelosi on Friday morning and the White House said he was “very glad that a full recovery is expected”.
Pramila Jayapal. A man was arrested outside the Congressional Progressive Caucus chair’s home for allegedly shouting racist obscenities and threatening to kill her.
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader in the US Senate, called Friday’s attack “a dastardly act” and conveyed his “deepest concern and heartfelt wishes” to Nancy Pelosi.
Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader in the House who is poised to take over as speaker should the Democrats lose control of the chamber in next month’s midterm elections, reached out to “check in on Paul” according to a spokesperson.
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said he was “horrified and disgusted” by the assault.
Paul Pelosi is a businessman who runs his own real estate and venture capital investment firm, Financial Leasing Services, based in San Francisco. He met Nancy D’Alesandro when they were both students in Washington DC, and they married in 1963. They have five children and many grandchildren.
Nancy Pelosi has had two stints as speaker of the US House, between 2007 to 2011 and since January 2019. She represents California’s 12th congressional district.
The investigation into Friday’s attack is being handled jointly by the FBI, the US Capitol police (USCP) and local San Francisco officers.
A team of threat assessment investigators from the east coast was also sent to assist the FBI and the San Francisco police department with a joint investigation.
Nancy Pelosi had just returned to Washington this week from a security conference in Europe and was due to make a keynote speech at an LGBTQ+ advocacy event on Saturday evening with vice-president, Kamala Harris, but has canceled her appearance.
In Philadelphia on Friday evening, the vice-president called the attack an “act of extreme violence” and condemned hateful and divisive discourse in politics, saying, “anyone who professes to be a leader has to really understand the meaning and the impact of their words”.
In addition to the rising threats on members of Congress, state and local politicians have also been confronted by increased threat levels. This week the campaign office of Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state who is running for governor of the state in next month’s midterm elections, was broken into.
A suspect, Daniel Mota Dos Reis, has been charged with third-degree burglary.
Often at Pelosi’s side during formal events in Washington, Paul Pelosi largely remains on the west coast.