The bloody hammer attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, has raised fears of political violence in the weeks leading up to America’s crucial midterm elections .
The attack came amid an alarming rise in violent rhetoric and threats against U.S. lawmakers, according to reports that someone entered the Democratic leader’s home specifically to find her.
As Americans prepare to go to the polls on Nov. 8, many experts and observers have warned of the dangers of political violence. The election took place in a climate of intrigue and intimidation, with widespread claims of voter fraud on the right and ongoing allegations of 2020 election theft without evidence.
Paul Pelosi’s attackers have reportedly posted a number of far-right conspiracy theories on social media about the election, as well as other issues such as Big Tech and the Covid-19 pandemic.
A suspect identified as 42-year-old David DePape broke into Pelosi’s home in San Francisco and beat her husband with a hammer until police disarmed him, according to police. The suspect now faces multiple charges, including attempted homicide and assault with a deadly weapon. Pelosi was taken to a nearby hospital, where the spokesman’s office said he was expected to make a full recovery.
CNN reported The attackers appeared to target the speaker who was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack. According to reports, the suspect entered her home shouting: “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?”
The attack is the latest in a series of incidents involving threats of violence against U.S. lawmakers, judges and political candidates.
In June, a man with a gun was arrested after threatening to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh outside his residence. A month later, Seattle police received a call about a man standing outside Pramila Jayapal’s home shouting death threats and racial slurs at the progressive congresswoman. A few days later, New York gubernatorial candidate Li Zeldin was attacked at a campaign event when a man with a sharp weapon charged him.
Jayapal commented on the attack on Pelosi’s husband, tweeting: “My heart breaks for @SpeakerPelosi & Paul Pelosi & our entire country. This violence is horrific. Ours for them & them family prayers.”
The number of threats against members of Congress has generally risen since the deadly riots on January 6 last year, the US Capitol Police reported.
Officials tracked 9,625 threats and indications of interest (meaning about actions or statements) against members of Congress in 2021, compared with 3,939 such incidents in 2017, according to USCP data. The House Sergeant Major responded to this worrying trend by giving lawmakers $10,000 to upgrade security in their homes.
Despite the many threats faced by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in recent months, the growth has been unevenly distributed across the political spectrum. According to a study conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, right-wing extremists accounted for about 75 percent of the 450 political murders in the United States over the past decade, compared with 4 percent for left-wing extremists.
The Jan. 6 uprising, launched by a group of Donald Trump supporters seeking to undermine the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory, is a vivid illustration of the dangers of right-wing extremism . A bipartisan Senate report released in June concluded that seven people died in connection with the insurgency.
The comments of the man who attacked Pelosi’s husband on Friday echoed those of the Jan. 6 insurgents. A man involved in the Capitol attack was recorded saying: “Nancy, where are you? We’re looking for you.”
The attack on Pelosi’s husband prompted Republican lawmakers to call for condemnation of the use of threats and violence against political opponents. One of the calls was from Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of the House select committee investigating his family on Jan. 6. received death threats About his work in the group.
“This morning’s horrific attack on Paul Pelosi by a man obsessed with election conspiracy is a dangerous reality encouraged by some members of my own party,” Kinsinger say on twitter. “This must be condemned by every MP [and] candidate. Now. “