The head of the US House of Representatives, who is constantly protected by bodyguards, was not in town at the time of the attack but in Washington.
Pelosi later confirmed that the attacker who injured her husband was looking for her at the couple’s home. The man threatened the life of Paul Pelosi and demanded to see the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, spokesman Drew Hammill said on Friday. Her husband underwent surgery for a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. Doctors expected him to make a full recovery.
The attacker repeated “Where’s Nancy?” called, wrote the “New York Times” and the “Washington Post”, citing officials. US media found online profiles of the man, according to which he was interested in QAnon conspiracy theories, misinformation about the alleged danger of corona vaccines and Donald Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The 42-year-old attacker broke into the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco on Friday night, police chief William Scott said. When police officers arrived, he repeatedly hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer in front of the officers. The attacker is in custody. He faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and multiple other offenses, Scott said.
It was unclear how the burglar got into the three-story red-brick home in the affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood. Aerial footage showed shattered glass on a door at the back of the home.
CNN reported that Paul Pelosi dialed 911 himself on his phone. He was not able to report the attack directly, but the employee on the emergency hotline heard what was happening in the background and sent the police. According to media reports, the man also wanted to tie down Paul Pelosi and wait for his wife to return.
Democrat Pelosi is a frequent target of verbal attacks from the American political right. Ex-President Trump has been calling her “Crazy Nancy” for years. Pelosi’s office was ransacked by Trump supporters during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, some of whom preyed on her during the attack. As chair of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is currently number three in the state, behind US President Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris.
The attack also raised fears of political violence ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, in which control of the House of Representatives and the US Senate is at stake.
Politically polarized climate
In a politically polarized climate, threats against Republican and Democratic lawmakers have increased. Capitol Police said they were investigating 9,625 incidents in 2021, almost triple the number in 2017.
Paul Pelosi, who owns a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital firm, was arrested in May for drink driving and involvement in a car accident and sentenced to five days in prison.