Joe Biden describes violent attack on husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as ‘despicable’ – as San Francisco police chief says it’s ‘not a random attack’ .
82-year-old Paul Pelosi is recovering from a skull fracture He was attacked with a hammer by an intruder on Friday.
The intruder, David DePape, broke into the couple’s San Francisco home around 2:30 a.m. and was reportedly looking for the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Police said officers were called to the house for a “health check” and found both men with hammers.
The suspect then pulled the hammer away from Mr Pelosi and used it to “violently attack” him before being tackled by police.
At some point, the suspect searched the Democratic leader, shouting, “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?”
Posts about QAnon
According to preliminary investigations, the suspect appears to have made racist and often rambling posts online, including some that echo the QAnon conspiracy theory.
His posts also questioned the outcome of the 2020 election and defended former President Donald Trump.
The 42-year-old, who grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, left about 20 years ago to follow an older girlfriend to San Francisco. The street address listed for DePape in Berkeley, a college town in the Bay Area, points to a PO Box at a UPS store.
He was arrested at Pelosi’s home early Friday.
The convoy believed to be carrying Mrs. Pelosi arrived Friday at Zuckerberg’s San Francisco General Hospital, where her husband Paul is being treated.
She was in Washington at the time of the attack and flew back to San Francisco International Airport.
The US president has severely condemned the attack on Mr. Pelosi and compared the attack on the husband of the speaker of the House of Representatives with U.S. Capitol riots.
At an event in Philadelphia on Friday night, he said he had earlier spoken to Mrs. Pelosi, who reported her husband was “in good spirits.”
He went on to report that the attackers repeated “the same slogans” heard during the riots on January 6, 2021.
“People’s chants are: ‘Where’s Nancy?'” Mr Biden said, calling it “despicable.”
“There is too much violence, political violence,” the president added, showing that rejecting the election and calling COVID-19 a “hoax” has eroded the political climate.
“Everyone with a conscience needs to speak out against violence in our politics, no matter what your politics is, clearly and unequivocally,” he said.
“Not random behavior”
Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said at a news conference that the attack on Mr. Pelosi’s San Francisco home was “intentional.”
“It was not random. It was intentional. It was wrong,” he said.
Mr Scott declined to comment further on a possible motive for the attack and said an investigation was ongoing.
A spokesman said Mr Pelosi was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery for a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hand.
He is expected to make a full recovery.
DePape is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several other felonies.
His motives are not yet clear.
Mrs. Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said her husband was “attacked by a violent man who threatened his life while demanding to see the Speaker.”
Assailants break into US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s house and hit her husband with a hammer as they search for her
Analysis – As Pelosi’s husband is attacked, threats to US politicians grow
Mrs. Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and second in line to the president, was in Washington, D.C., and had recently returned from a security summit in Europe.
If she was at home, her security details would be present, but Mr. Pelosi herself does not qualify for that protection.
“What happened to Paul Pelosi is despicable,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“I spoke with Speaker Pelosi earlier this morning and expressed my deepest concern and heartfelt wishes to her husband and their family and wish him a speedy recovery.”
After the attack, the White House issued a statement saying “the president is praying for the family of Paul Pelosi and Speaker Pelosi,” adding that he was “very pleased” that he expected a full recovery.
San Francisco police, Capitol Police and the FBI are investigating the attack.
Nearly two years after the Capitol riots in January 2021, when Mrs. Pelosi’s office was ransacked, concerns have grown for the safety of American politicians.
Last year, Capitol Police investigated about 9,600 bipartisan threats to members of Congress — a nearly threefold increase since 2017.