Polarization Raises Safety Concerns After Paul Pelosi Suffers Political Attack

By Chuck Merlis

In the early hours of Oct. 28, Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi, was attacked by hammer-point in the family’s home in San Francisco. Pelosi underwent surgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for a skull fracture and injuries to his arm and hand and has been released from the hospital.

The assailant, 42-year-old David DePape, was detained upon police arrival and admitted to medical care. Upon his release from medical care, DePape was admitted to the San Francisco County Jail and held without bail. DePape has pleaded not guilty to a plethora of charges, including attempted murder, and attempted kidnapping. 

CNBC reports that DePape has been charged with two federal crimes, which include the attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assaulting an immediate family member of a United States official with the intent to retaliate against the official.

DePape reported breaking into the house looking for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and was overheard shouting, “where is Nancy” and “I will wait for her to get home.”

Many speculate that DePape’s motives were politically motivated, as DePape is a champion for  right-wing and often conspiratorial politicians and policies. 

CNBC also reports that DePape, a Canadian citizen, has been in the United States illegally since 2008 under the guise of a temporary visitor. The Department of Homeland Security has placed a detainer on DePape and has stated its intention to deport him upon his release from jail.

Both political parties have joined in condemning the attack on Pelosi.

President Joe Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement that reads in part, “The President is praying for Paul Pelosi and Speaker Pelosi’s whole family. This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack.” 

“Horrified and disgusted by the reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi’s home last night,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to recover fully.” 

Former Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted, “This is an outrage and our hearts are with the entire Pelosi family. ⁦We pray Paul will make a full recovery. There can be no tolerance for violence against public officials or their families.”

The New York Times reports that while security cameras at the house caught the break-in, the cameras were unmanned at the time of the attack and that multiple minutes went by between the break-in and the apprehension of the assailant. 

The Times also reports that a police officer is stationed outside the Pelosi household while The Speaker is home; it is not protocol for an officer to be stationed outside while The Speaker is in Washington, D.C.

In light of the midterm elections, political polarization has peaked. 

“Well, I think that people in both parties should tone down the rhetoric … I believe people in both parties are guilty of intense rhetoric that leads to, you know, feeding into these people who are deranged and create violence,” said Kentucky Congressman James Comer in an interview with CNN.

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