The before and after of the recently attempted murder of Paul Pelosi.


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Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi posing in front of a door.

On the 28th of October Paul Pelosi, husband of Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in the middle of the night in his and Mrs. Pelosi’s residence. The attacker broke in by shattering a window in the front of the house and then proceeded to interrogate Paul Pelosi about Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts. Pelosi attempted to explain that his wife was not home when the strange man began to beat him. The aggressor was later identified as David DePape. Mid-assault Mr. Pelosi was able to escape to the bathroom and make a 911 call using a sort-of coded language and police were eventually dispatched to the scene (The New York Times). As the authorities arrived Mr. Pelosi opened the door only for the assailant to strike him on the head with a hammer (People). Police quickly tackled DePape and arrested him. 

President Joe Biden
and several other politicians,
left and right leaning,
have condemned the attack
and pushed others to do the same
in regards to all politically motivated violence.

DePape originally was charged with the assault of a relative of a federal official. Since then he has additionally been charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment of an elder, and threatening family members of public officials (The New York Times). Mr. Pelosi on the other hand had to receive surgery for a skull fracture obtained in the incident (The Guardian). He will make a full recovery but Nancy Pelosi and her family are heartbroken and gravely upset by the event and unlikely to forget what happened any time soon. 

There has been speculation about DePape’s motivations and intentions behind the crimes committed. As reported by The New York Times DePape entered the home with several items in hand, “He had “a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, which filed the charges”. It has also been noted that in an interview with the police DePape claimed that he had planned to break Nancy Pelosi’s knee caps after asking her a series of questions, if she did not answer with the “truth”. It is undeniable that David DePape’s intent was violent on that Friday night, but his motive seems to be up for debate according to many different politicians commenting on the attack. 

After investigation it was pointed out that DePape’s social media presence is very politically driven. He had a blog active from August until a short time before the event where he wrote about a range of extreme viewpoints. These spanned from anisemetic values to ani-white racism (The New York Times). This and other remarks made by DePape have led many officials to believe the attack was politically motivated. Although, there have been conservative Republican officials who have claimed it was ridiculous to believe such a thing. The BBC notes a specific instance of this, “Conservative commentator Matt Walsh said it was “absurd” to portray the attacker as “a militant right winger”. 

The views of this occurrence have been varied between different political parties and officials. President Joe Biden and several other politicians, left and right leaning, have condemned the attack and pushed others to do the same in regards to all politically motivated violence. However there have been members of the Republican party who have used the occasion as the punchline for their jokes. One specific example being Kari Lake, a candidate for Governor of Arizona joked about the incident during an interview. After receiving criticism for the joke she declared to be being attacked for her use of the first amendment, “On Monday night, though, Lake lamented to Carlson that she was the one being attacked, over criticism she had received for mocking the Pelosis” (The Washington Post)

The assault of Paul Pelosi has caused rumors and political turmoil to spread like wildfire, and will likely have an effect on decisions about political violence in the future.