On the same day as the Pelosi attack, a Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). the assailant had repeatedly dialed the congressman’s office to say he “had a lot of AR-15s” and wanted to shoot the member. And just months earlier, in July, a man was charged with felony stalking after making threats outside of the home of Rep. pramila jayapal (D-Wash.) while carrying a holstered firearm.
And it’s not just members of Congress: In June, a man with a gun and knife was arrested outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after making threats against him.
The Capitol Police, which are part of the investigation along with the FBI and San Francisco police, have obtained video from the attack showing the alleged assailant, DePape, breaking into Pelosi’s house with a hammer, according to sources familiar with the situation. DePape entered the Pelosi house early Friday morning while searching for the speaker and shouting “where is Nancy, where is Nancy?”, according to a source briefed on the attack.
Later Friday morning, the block of stately homes where Pelosi lives was cordoned off with police tape. Several police vehicles and FBI agents were visible outside the residence.
In a brief press conference Friday, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said that police officers were dispatched to the Pelosi residence at about 2:30 am for a “priority well-being check,” and arrived on the scene to find Paul Pelosi and DePape holding a hammer.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it,” Scott said. “Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.”
DePape, the suspect, was also transported to a local hospital for treatment, Scott said. He will be booked at San Francisco County jail on charges of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several additional felonies.
Special agents from the Capitol Police department’s California field office “quickly arrived on scene,” and a team from the department’s Threat Assessment Section was dispatched to the West Coast to assist with the joint investigation, Capitol Police said.
Support for the speaker and Paul Pelosi streamed in from both sides of the aisle. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Friday the assault on Paul Pelosi is “another example of the dangerous consequences of the divisive and hateful rhetoric that is putting lives at risk and undermining our very democracy and Democratic institutions.”
Biden, speaking at a Friday evening fundraiser in Pennsylvania, called the attack “despicable” and implored Americans to “stand up clearly and unambiguously” against political violence.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in an earlier statement that Biden called Nancy Pelosi Friday morning to “express his support after this horrible attack” and to condemn the violence. She added that the president is praying for the Pelosi family and that he’s “very glad” a full recovery is expected.
Many lawmakers, including McConnell and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassleytook to Twitter friday morning to condemn the attack and express support for the speaker and her husband.
House Republican Caucus Chair elise stefanik (RN.Y.) said of the alleged attacker in a statement “this criminal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Horrified and disgusted by the reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi’s home last night,” McConnell said in a tweet. “Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery and that law enforcement including our stellar Capitol Police are on the case.”
However, not every Republican offered unabashed support. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, while campaigning with GOP congressional candidate Yesli Vega, told an audience of Paul and Nancy Pelosi: “There’s no room for violence anywhere, but we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”
And not every Democrat was satisfied with the warm words after Friday’s traumatic attack.
“We know what has fueled this: It is years of vitriol and disinformation,” Dean said, citing GOP leaders who have allowed politically motivated lies, including those about the validity of elections, to become mainstream. “What we have learned is what we are reaping.”
Jeremy B. White and Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism