Trump joins GOP chorus of conspiracy theories on Paul Pelosi attack: ‘The whole thing is crazy’

A number of GOP figures in recent days have promoted baseless conspiracy theories around the attack on Paul Pelosi

Johanna Chisholm
Tuesday 01 November 2022 17:57 GMT
Man who broke into Nancy Pelosi's house wanted to hold her hostage and 'break her kneecaps'

Donald Trump has joined a chorus of GOP voices promoting a flurry of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories around the attack against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.

The former president began airing the controversial remarks while calling in to the Chris Stigall radio show on Tuesday morning.

The one-term president began by offering up condolences for Paul Pelosi and his family, as he described the attack as a “sad situation”.

But he also gave credence to conspiracy theories that exploded in right-wing circles in the days after the attack, most of which have since been debunked after authorities released the arresting documents against suspect David DePape.

“Wow, it’s — weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks. Probably, you and I are better off not talking about it. The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out so it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out. I don’t know, you hear the same things I do,” Mr Trump said, highlighting a since dismantled theory that the San Francisco home of the House Leader and her husband didn’t show signs of a break-in.

The theory promoted by Mr Trump during the Tuesday radio show was dismissed both by the criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday afternoon and the San Francisco District Attorney.

In the arresting documents, it detailed how during an interview with officers Mr DePape admitted to breaking into the Pelosi home through a glass door, using a hammer to do so.

“It was a forced entry into the rear door of the home and that he ultimately did make his way upstairs which is where he ultimately confronted Mr Pelosi,” San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said, throwing more cold water on the theory promoted by Mr Trump and others in conservative circles in the days since the attack.

At another point in the radio interview, Mr Trump used a tactic that’s been commonly deployed by right-wing media circles to deflect from the reality of the arresting documents by casting a cloud of confusion around the incident, and claiming he was just asking questions about “a lot of bad stuff”.

“It’s a lot of bad stuff and I’m not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but what’s going on there is very sad,” Trump continued. “The whole thing is crazy, and if there’s even a little bit of truth to what’s being said. The window was broken in and it was strange the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all took place. So, you’re going to have to explain that to your audience, including me.”

Several the theories that have been floated in the days since the attack was first reported have been debunked by either reliable reporting or evidence released by arresting authorities.

For instance, on Sunday, the newly instated head of Twitter, Elon Musk, shared a link to a news article from the Santa Monica Observer, which incorrectly claimed that Mr DePape was a male escort and had been at the home of the Pelosis as an invited guest.

“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” wrote the Tesla founder in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Police have stated at various stages in the investigation that Mr Pelosi and Mr DePape did not know each other prior to the attack.

Further damning evidence was unearthed on Monday, when arresting documents from an interview with the 42-year-old suspect revealed that his intentions for attacking Mr Pelosi were “to retaliate against” the speaker “on account of the performance of official duties”.

“DePape stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DePape the ‘truth,’ he would let her go, and if she ‘lied,’ he was going to break ‘her kneecaps’,” the complaint said. “DePape was certain that Nancy would not have told the ‘truth.’ In the course of the interview, DePape articulated he viewed Nancy as the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party.”

Others in the Republican party who have been called out in recent days for inappropriately amplifying theories around the attack or blatantly mocking the incident include Texas Sen Ted Cruz, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and even the former president’s own son, Donald Trump Jr.

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