House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that her husband, Paul, was not the target of an assailant who broke into their San Francisco home last month, but he “is the one who is paying the price” amid a dangerous political divide in America.
“For me, this is really the hard part, because Paul was not the target,” the Democratic leader told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, her first sit-down interview after the attack. “It’s really sad, because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation. … It has no place in our democracy.”
Her comments come just a day before the midterm elections and amid concerns that some Republicans will continue to spread lies and misinformation following any losses Tuesday akin to those surrounding Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020.
A suspect, identified as 42-year-old David DePape, has been charged with breaking into the Pelosi’s home, confronting Paul Pelosi and asking, “Where’s Nancy?” She was not at home at the time, having flown to Washington, D.C.
Police arrived after the speaker’s husband called 911, just as the suspect allegedly struck Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. He was hospitalized and underwent surgery for a skull fracture before he was released last week.
Pelosi, at times near tears, said she would have hoped lawmakers in the GOP would recognize that anyone in Congress from both parties could be subject to threats and violence. But she said it remained “really sad for the country that people who are that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way.”
“You would think that there would be some level of responsibility,” Pelosi said, saying she believed Republicans were waging a “one-sided assault” on democracy. “But you see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make a joke of it. And, really, that is traumatizing too.”
The speaker said the attack would impact her decision on whether to retire at the end of her current term.
“I have been close to tears a number of times in this conversation. I think I have done very well in containing that,” Pelosi continued. “But of course, I’m sad because of my husband, but I’m also sad for our country. Unless we can get over this and have enough people out there say, while I may not agree with everything the Democrats are for or the Republicans are for, I do agree that our democracy is important and that we must protect it.”
Pelosi added, as she has before, that she believes a strong Republican Party is good for American democracy.
“The GOP … has done great things for our country,” she said. “We need that instead of a party yielding to a cult, to a thug as I see it.”