WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the brutal attack on her husband will influence her decision whether or not to remain in Congress after the midterm elections, as she called on Republicans to stop the misinformation fueling political violence and prevent it. urged Americans “to vote for our democracy.”
In a lengthy CNN interview, the Democratic leader has not disclosed her future plans if the party loses the House majority, as many believe Pelosi and others will step down. Known for her stiff determination, Pelosi’s voice cracked with emotion and she acknowledged she was “almost in tears” as she described the trauma of the attack on her 82-year-old husband and the grief she felt for the country.
“I’m sad about my husband, but I’m also sad about our country,” Pelosi said.
“I just want people to vote and we will respect the outcome of the election, and I hope the other party does too,” she said.
Pelosi spoke publicly for the first time on the eve of the election as Democrats grapple with a wave of Republican eagerness to maintain control of Congress at a time of mounting threats of violence against lawmakers and concerns over the US election.
Asked whether she had made a decision whether or not to remain in Congress, Pelosi, who rarely spoke publicly about her future, would only reveal that the attack on her husband had affected her thinking.
“I have to say that my decision will be influenced by what has happened in the past two weeks,” Pelosi told CNN.
Top Republican leaders, including allies of Donald Trump and even new Twitter owner Elon Musk, have mocked and downplayed the attack, despite the severity of the attack on her husband.
“There has to be a message to Republicans to stop the disinformation,” she said. “We want the country to heal.”
Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was bludgeoned to death 11 days before the election by an intruder who, authorities say, broke into the family’s San Francisco and searched for the speaker before hitting him on the head at least once with a hammer. The intruder told police he wanted to talk to Speaker Pelosi and “break her kneecaps” as a lesson to other Democrats. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in what authorities believe was a deliberate political attack.
“For me this is the hardest because Paul wasn’t the target, and he’s the one paying the price,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said the hammer hit her husband in two places, but did not pierce his brain. Pelosi said his recovery was “on the right track,” but she acknowledged that “it’s a long road.”
Long a target of Republican attacks, Pelosi said the attack on her husband of nearly 60, with its echoes of the January 6, 2021 Capitol uprising, was fueled by misinformation “that has no place in our democracy. “
Pelosi said she was sleeping in her Washington apartment, just back from San Francisco, when a “bang, bang, bang, bang, bang” sounded on her door. It was about 5 o’clock in the morning of October 28.
“I was very scared,” Pelosi told CNN in an interview. ‘I think of my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul.”
“We didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was,” Pelosi said, in excerpts of the interview. “We just knew there was an attack on him in our house.”
David DePape, 42, is being held without bail in San Francisco after filing a not guilty plea to attempted murder and other charges in San Francisco. He also faces federal charges of attempted kidnapping of an elected official.
The fringe activist who followed conspiracy theories broke into Pelosi’s house, woke Paul Pelosi and demanded to speak to “Nancy,” authorities said. When Paul Pelosi told the intruder that his wife was out of town, DePape said he would wait. After Paul Pelosi called 911, officers arrived to watch the two men struggle over a hammer before DePape hit Paul Pelosi on the head at least once with the hammer.
DePape later told police he wanted to kidnap the speaker and threatened to injure her “to show other members of Congress that actions had consequences.”
The grim story of authorities in the court files in the case contrasts with the jokes and innuendo that conservatives and some Republican officials have spread about the Pelosis in the wake of the attack.
Pelosi has said little since the attack on her husband, cutting her campaign appearances short, but spoke in a virtual call to grassroots activists late last week after Paul Pelosi was released from hospital.
“People say to me, ‘What can I do to make you feel better?’ I say: ‘Vote!’”, Pelosi said to the interlocutors.
Her voice broke at times when she said of her husband’s recovery, “It will be a long haul.”