‘Violence unleashed to break democracy’: Anger after Nancy Pelosi’s husband attacked at San Francisco home

The harrowing news sparked an onslaught of reactions from Washington

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 28 October 2022 18:56 BST
Nancy Pelosi’s husband attacked during break-in at San Francisco home

A brutal attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul during a break-in at their San Francisco home has sparked widespread outrage and speculation that it was politically motivated.

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Ms Pelosi, said in a statement on Friday that “early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr Pelosi. The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation. Mr Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery. The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time”.

“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time,” he added.

The harrowing news sparked an onslaught of reactions from Washington, with the White House saying that President Joe Biden is “praying” for Mr Pelosi’s recovery.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “This morning [Mr Biden] called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected. The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected”.

The suspect has been identified by the San Francisco Police Department as 42-year-old David DePape.

Police Chief William Scott said during a press briefing on Friday that officers were dispatched at 2.27am and when they arrived on the scene, Mr DePape and Mr Pelosi were both seen holding a hammer.

The suspect pulled the hammer from Mr Pelosi and “violently assaulted him with it,” Mr Scott said.

The chief added that officers “immediately tackled” Mr DePape and took him into custody.

“DePape will be booked at the San Francisco county jail on the following charges: attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several, several other additional felonies,” Mr Scott added.

“The motive for this attack is still being determined,” the chief said.

Both Mr Pelosi and Mr DePape were taken to hospital for treatment.

Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted that “Doug and I are appalled by the attack on Paul Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi’s husband. The entire Pelosi family is in our hearts and we wish him a speedy recovery”.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “what happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act. I spoke with Speaker Pelosi earlier this morning and conveyed my deepest concern and heartfelt wishes to her husband and their family, and I wish him a speedy recovery”.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that he’s “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”.

Spokesman Mark Bednar said GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy “reached out to the Speaker to check in on Paul and said he’s praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant,” according to Axios.

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted: “Public figures should always be free from violence, harassment, and intimidation. That’s even more importantly true for their families. Wishing Speaker Pelosi and the entire family well, and a speedy recovery to Paul Pelosi.”

Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley wrote, “I wish Mr Pelosi well and pray for a quick recovery. Everyone deserves to be respected and violence is never okay”.

Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz added: “What happened to Paul Pelosi last night is horrific. Heidi & I are praying for him & Nancy & the entire Pelosi family. May God’s protection be upon them. We can have our political differences, but violence is always wrong & unacceptable.”

US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn tweeted, “humanity sure sucks at times. Praying for a speedy recovery for Paul Pelosi”.

New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries tweeted that he was “praying hard for Paul Pelosi as he recovers from a violent and unconscionable assault on him at his home. May God watch over Paul, Speaker Pelosi and their family”.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey tweeted that “Terese and I are wishing Paul Pelosi a full and speedy recovery from this horrible, violent attack. Our prayers are with Paul, @SpeakerPelosi, and the entire Pelosi family”.

The chair of the progressive caucus, Pramila Jayapal, tweeted: “My heart breaks for @SpeakerPelosi and Paul Pelosi, and for our entire country. This violence is horrific. Our prayers are with them both and their family.”

New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell added: “I’m hoping and praying Paul Pelosi is ok. I’m outraged the Speaker and her family are going through this. This is cowardly, disgusting, and disgraceful.”

Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney wrote: “Reports about the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi are horrific and deeply troubling. My family and I are praying for his recovery.”

Outside of politics, gun control advocate Fred Guttenberg tweeted that he wished Mr Pelosi “a quick recovery”.

“I will await more news on this violent attack, however, the violence that is unleashed by those trying to break our Democracy is something that we cannot ignore,” he added.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe tweeted that “this is nightmarish. I wish Paul Pelosi a full and rapid recovery. The far-right has normalized the use of violence even against the families of public officials with whom somebody might disagree. This absolutely must stop”.

Broadcaster Jon Alba wrote that “the attack on Paul Pelosi is proof they would have killed Nancy Pelosi had they had the chance [on] Jan 6. Don’t let anyone normalize that day as anything less than what it was”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in