An assailant—searching for Nancy Pelosi—entered the House speaker’s San Francisco home on Friday morning, and violently attacked her husband, Paul, with a hammer, before being tackled by authorities, according to San Francisco police.
The Washington Post reported that Paul, 82, suffered a skull fracture and “serious injuries to his right arm and hands.” He underwent surgery on Friday, and is expected to make a full recovery. The suspect, who has been identified by the police as 42-year-old David DePape, is facing multiple charges, and the Capitol Police are still investigating the incident. Nancy Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., when her husband was attacked, according to Capitol Police.
The news of the assault was met, for the most part, with condemnation across the political aisle. “The President is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,” the White House said in a statement, calling the attack “horrible.” (President Biden also spoke about it at a fundraising dinner Friday night, referring to the attack as “despicable.”) Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke out, both on Twitter and to reporters.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: “Horrified and disgusted by the reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi’s home last night. Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also expressed his condolences on Twitter. (Axios reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reached out to the Pelosis to check in.)
According to police and news reports, the suspect, DePape, entered Pelosi’s San Francisco home early on Friday morning, shouting “Where is Nancy?” Police were dispatched to the home at 2:27 a.m., where they found DePape struggling with Pelosi, each man with “one hand on a single hammer,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in a news conference on Friday.
Pelosi himself had called 911, but was unable to tell police what was happening at the home. Scott said the dispatcher “was able to read between the lines” and “basically figured out that there was something more to this incident than what she was being told.” (The Associated Press reported that a person familiar with the situation said Pelosi had escaped to the bathroom, where his phone was charging.)
No motive has been given for the attack, but plenty has surfaced about DePape’s embrace of dangerous far-right, bigoted conspiracy theories. A blog authored under DePape’s name included posts about QAnon (a dizzying conspiracy theory that holds there is a vast network of satanic elites who run child sex-trafficking rings and are working to bring down Donald Trump); pizzagate (the belief that satanic elites kept children in a D.C. pizzeria); conspiracy theories about coronavirus vaccines; and antisemitic and racist screeds. According to the Los Angeles Times, he followed a number of far-right figures who push anti-Democratic conspiracy theories, as well.
DePape is currently in custody. Pelosi is being treated at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.