Then she heard a loud banging on her door.
“So I ran to the door and I was very scared — I see the Capitol Police and they said we should come in and talk to you,” Pelosi said in the interview that aired Monday. “And I think of my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because I knew he wouldn’t be out, shall we say.”
What she would later hear was that Paul Pelosi, 82, had been assaulted by a hammer-wielding assailant who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, and is still recovering from the attack. He was released from a San Francisco hospital last week after surgery on his skull.
But in the early hours of October 28, Nancy Pelosi and the police officers who woke her up knew little about it. At one point in the interview, the Speaker of the House had to pause to absorb her emotions.
“At that point, we didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was,” she told CNN. “We just knew there was an attack on him, in our house.”
Asked about how the suspect, David Wayne DePape, allegedly sought her, and not her husband, Pelosi said, “This is really the hardest part.”
“Paul wasn’t the target, but he’s the one who paid the price,” she said.
Shortly after the attack, federal authorities filed charges for attempted kidnapping and sexual assault against DePape, 42. According to indictment documents, DePape told authorities after his arrest that he planned to “take Nancy hostage” and break her kneecaps to try and get a gun. message to other Democrats.
The Washington Post confirmed that a blog written under DePape’s name was full of anti-Semitic writings and baseless claims, as well as pro-Trump and anti-democratic posts. Neighbors say it was registered on a house in Richmond, California, where DePape lives.
Many Democrats have labeled the attack as the result of Republicans’ incendiary rhetoric, suggesting that Pelosi’s alleged attacker was influenced by right-wing misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
At a campaign event on the evening of October 28, President Biden called on the crowd to stand “clearly and unequivocally” against political violence.
“Why do we think one party can talk about stolen elections when covid is a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it doesn’t affect people who may not be so balanced?” said Biden then. “Why do we think it won’t change the political climate? Enough is enough is enough.”
Like Biden, Pelosi saw a connection between Jan. 6 rioters who sought her in the Capitol and called her name, and the man who broke into her home.
“There’s no doubt it’s the same,” she said.
Most Republican leaders have condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi — although many have also been quick to link those accusations to accusations of blame on “both sides” for the rise in political violence. Still others in the GOP have turned the brutal attack on the House Speaker’s octogenarian husband into a punch line, making fun of the incident at campaign events and sharing memes and Halloween costumes mocking the attack.
Nancy Pelosi denounced the mockery of her husband’s attack. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her about former President Donald Trump and billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk promoting conspiracy theories related to the incident.
“It’s really sad for the country that people with such high visibility would distance themselves from the facts and the truth,” she said.
Devlin Barrett, Eugene Scott and Holly Bailey contributed to this report.