Then she heard a loud knock at her door.
“So I run to the door and I was really scared — I see the Capitol Police, and they said we have to come in to talk to you,” Pelosi said in the interview that aired Monday. “And I think, my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because I knew he wouldn’t be out and about, shall we say.”
What she would later learn was that Paul Pelosi, 82, had been attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant who had broken into the couple’s home in San Francisco. 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 hospital in San Francisco last week after undergoing surgery on his skull.
But in the early morning 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 collect her emotions.
“At that time, we didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was,” she told CNN. “We only knew there was an assault on him, in our house.”
Asked how the suspect, David Wayne DePape, allegedly sought her out, and not her husband, Pelosi said, “That’s really the hard part.”
“Paul was not the target, but he is the one who paid the price,” she said.
Shortly after the attack, federal authorities filed charges of attempted kidnapping and assault against DePape, 42. According to charging documents, DePape told authorities after his arrest that he planned to “hold Nancy hostage” and break her kneecaps to send a message to other Democrats.
The Washington Post confirmed that a blog written under DePape’s name was filled with anti-Semitic writings and unsubstantiated claims as well as pro-Trump and anti-Democracy posts. It was registered to a home in Richmond, California, where DePape lives, according to neighbors.
Many Democrats decried the attack as the result of Republicans’ inflammatory 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 “clearly and unequivocally” stand up against political violence.
“What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, that covid is a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it doesn’t affect people who may not be so well balanced?” Biden then said. “What makes us think that this is not going to change the political climate? Enough is enough is enough.”
Like Biden, Pelosi saw a connection between rioters on Jan. 6 who sought her out in the Capitol and called her name, and the man who broke into her home.
“No doubt it’s the same thing,” she said.
Most Republican leaders condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi — though many were also quick to link those condemnations to claims of blame on “both sides” for the rise in political violence. Still others in the GOP turned the brutal attack on the House speaker of eight years into a punchline, joking about the incident at campaign events and sharing memes and Halloween costumes mocking the assault.
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 is really sad for the country that people with that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth,” she said.
Devlin Barrett, Eugene Scott and Holly Bailey contributed to this report.